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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7617
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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Hi, I am a landlord, and I have a 4 floor building rent out

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Hi, I am a landlord, and I have a 4 floor building rent out as offices. I am wondering if the tenants are liable for the business rates for the whole floor including the common area or they are only liable for the contracted area excluding the common area. It is stated in the contract that the business rates are not included in the rent and the same is the tenants responsibility.

Thank you.

What precisely does the lease state about business rates? Does it state that rates relating to the property (ie. the specific floor space that each rents) are to be paid by the tenant?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Tom,


There is a floor attached to the contract, and certain areas are marked as the common area.


Regarding the business rates there is only one line in the contract saying, 'Business rates/council tax is also not included in the rent and the same is the Tenant's responsibility.'

I am wondering if it's common in practice that the tenants pay for the business rates for the whole floor? I assume it'd be very difficult for the council to separate the bills for the same floor in the same building?

Thank you.




So, the lease does not include any provision which states that the tenant should pay rates relating to the property?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I did not find anything elso re the business rates apart from the one line I sent just now.


Thanks for your patience.

The usual way of dealing with this would be that there is a clause in the tenant’s covenants of the lease which states that the tenants are responsible for the rates applicable to the property (as defined by the lease – the area that they have been granted a lease over). This would obligate them to pay the rates in respect of the area which they have leased.

If there were also rates payable overall in respect of the common areas then the lease might include a further provision stating that they should pay a proportionate part of the business rates for the common areas together with the other tenants using it.

In the absence of any provision relating to common areas that you would be on very shaky ground attempting to force them to pay these amounts if they did not agree to pay them. The interpretation of the passage that you have mentioned would have to be very wide to include also the common areas, so wide that I don’t think a court would agree with the interpretation and hold the tenant’s liable.

I am sorry that I could not have better news for you.

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Kind regards,

Thomas and other UK Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The tenant has been paying for the rates relating to the common area for the past a couple of years. Would this mean anything to the court?


I would say, probably not. If the lease is in writing then I would expect a court take the view that any effective variation to the Lease would also be in writing.

I am sorry.

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