The following Local Government Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
We have assumed that:
the premises are in England
the outgoing tenant's lease has come to an end
An occupier of the whole or part of a hereditament is liable to pay business rates.
Rateable occupation in relation to non-domestic property is determined in accordance with rules explained and developed by extensive case law. These rules, which applied under the General Rate Act 1967 (GRA 1967) (now repealed), have been preserved under the Local Government Finance Act 1988 (LGFA 1988), but any express statutory rules contained in GRA 1967 must be ignored.
The courts have accepted that there are four necessary ingredients in rateable occupation:
there must be actual occupation
the occupation must be exclusive for the particular purposes of the possessor
the possession must be of some value or benefit to the possessor, and
the possession must not be for too transient a period
These four ingredients have been recognised by the Supreme Court in Cardtronics UK Ltd v Sykes (Valuation Officer),
See ‘The four ingredients of rateable occupation’ in Practice Note: Liability for business rates and Commentary:
Necessary ingredients of rateable occupation: Halsbury's Laws of England 
The four ingredients of rateable occupation: Ryde on Rating and the Council Tax 
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