Beach Huts Non-Domestic Rates

Beach Huts Non-Domestic Rates

‘Beach Huts’

Non-Domestic Rates

Congratulations!  You’re a beach hut owner with all the responsibilities that entails. Your monetary responsibilities run to paying your Annual Licence Fee, insurance, repairs and maintenance (either DIY or a professional). Your social responsibilities run to meeting the terms of owning your beach hut as laid down by Brighton & Hove City Council.  But, wait, what’s all this about Non-Domestic Rates?  My blog explains about beach huts non-domestic rates, what they are, and why they may (or may not) be applicable in your case.

Non-Domestic Buildings

Beach huts are classed as non-domestic buildings and are therefore liable for business rates.  A rateable value is assigned to your beach hut and a bill calculated by the local council.  Do not confuse ‘rates’ with the Annual Licence Fee for a Beach Hut.  They are separate items.   

However, you can find out if you’re entitled to relief from non-domestic rates by accessing the Government website.

Business rates

You have to pay business rates if you use a building or part of a building for business purposes.  The Government sets the tax known as Business Rates.  They are charged on non-domestic properties, including beach huts.  Around half the money goes to central government, and the other half goes towards the cost of local services in Brighton & Hove.

You will receive a business rates bill every March for the following tax year.

Click on the link to view Brighton & Hove’s full 2022 guide to business rates .

Who doesn’t need to pay

You don’t need to pay business rates in certain situations, for example if your property is exempt, or if you qualify for help with your bill.  You can find a full list of exempt properties on the GOV.UK website.

Business rates (

A cautionary Beach Hut Owner’s (rate) tale

Out of the blue, I received a phone call which went roughly like this, “Heather!  I’ve been summonsed!” Click here to see the document: Summons Brighton Magistrates

The beach hut owner (BHO) had the surprise of her life when a Summons to appear at Brighton Magistrates Court dropped through her letterbox.  The first questions that sped through her mind were:

  1. Why have I been summonsed?
  2. Who can I call for advice?

This beach hut owner answered Q.2 first by calling for my advice.  I assured her that indeed non-domestic rates applied to the purchase of a beach hut, and that she had probably, in the excitement of buying her hut, forgotten to apply for relief.

She duly completed the necessary forms and was relieved to find that she was not liable for non-domestic rates.

Brighton & Hove Team

My Beach Hut Owner is happy for me to share details of correspondence between her and Brighton & Hove City Council with you, to avoid a similar scenario:

“Dear Ratepayer (1)

Thank you for applying for Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) at the above address.

I do understand that beach huts are rarely used as a business, and it does appear strange to apply for SBRR.  The SBRR scheme is designed for all national non-domestic accounts where the rateable value (RV) is below £15 000, and as  the RV  for beach hut XXX is £475 full rate relief has been applied.

There is information about beach hut and links to National non-Domestic rates (commonly known as business rates) on the Valuation Office Agency website

You have made a legal declaration that you/your business are entitled to receive this relief and we have now awarded this to your account from (date) 2021.

This relief will continue to apply until your circumstances change. However, from time to time we check to ensure you are still entitled to receive this relief.  This might include:

  •          sending a review form
  •          matching our records against those held in other council departments to check for undeclared changes
  •          matching our records against external organisations and credit reference agencies to check for undeclared changes

What next?

You must tell us within 28 days if your circumstances change, such as if:

  •          you vacate this property –
  •          you take on another business property anywhere in the UK
  •          any of your business properties become unoccupied
  •          the rateable value of your properties changes
  •          the rateable value of any extra properties rises above £2,900, or the total value of all your properties rises above £19,999

You may incur financial penalties or be liable to prosecution if you fail to notify us of any changes which may impact your entitlement to receive Small Business Rates Relief.

Yours sincerely,

Business Rates Team”

Additional Advice

I advised the beach hut owner to obtain confirmation that no further charges would be applied in this particular case.  Here’s the answer to her question:

“Dear XXX,

I can confirm the summons and associated costs have been withdrawn and that you are not required to attend court on [date] 2022.

Please contact the office with any further queries.

Yours sincerely,

Business Rates”

Happy ending?

I think so and – everyone loves a happy ending.  I advise all beach hut owners to apply for business rate relief immediately after purchasing.

My beach hut owner has a personal note to end:

I would also add that, because you’re absolutely forbidden from using the hut for business, I initially thought that the business rates’ thing was a mistake and ignored it (as I was told to do by the Seafront Office) so continued to ignore it until the summons came. It would have been a better idea to have known it was coming and applied for relief as just a bit of eye-rolling admin, which is annoying, but isn’t likely to go away.

The lesson is, we all know it’s not applicable, but go through the motions anyway!”