The occupier of a non-domestic property normally pays Business Rates – usually this is the owner-occupier or leaseholder. If a property is empty, the owner or leaseholder will have to pay a reduced rate.
If you pay your Business Rates directly to the owner (or leaseholder) and the owner does not pass on your payments to Harlow Council, you are still liable to Harlow Council for the rates, and payment can be sought from you. Any private agreement between you and the owner or leaseholder is not binding in rating law. This means you might need to go to the County Court to reclaim the Business Rates from the owner.
Non-domestic properties are business properties such as shops, offices, warehouses and factories, and any other property that is not classed as domestic property. In some cases, properties may be used for both domestic and non-domestic use (for example, a shop with a flat above it), in which case both Council Tax and Business Rates will be charged.
If you work from home, Harlow Council may charge Business Rates for the part of the property used for work, and you will have to pay Council Tax for the rest of the property (although your property’s valuation band may change). It will depend on the circumstances of each case and you should ask your local Valuation Office for advice.
Holiday homes and bed-and-breakfasts
Unless you plan to make your holiday home available for hire for at least 140 days a year, you will not have to pay Business Rates on the property. You will have to pay Council Tax instead.
If you offer bed-and-breakfast accommodation in your own home to six people (or fewer), you will not be liable for Business Rates as long as you are living in the property. You will have to pay Council Tax on the whole property.
If you hire out your holiday home for more than 140 days a year, or you provide bed-and-breakfast for more than six people at any one time, you will have to pay Business Rates on that part of your property. You will still have to pay Council Tax on the part of your property you use as your home.