"Rates" is a tax on property that is levied in the UK on business property (as opposed to residential property). A similar tax is also levied in Hong Kong, but for all property. In this case, the rates are calculated based on the rent at which the land or buildings might reasonably be expected to be let. Hence in Hong Kong the term 差餉租值 (rateable value) is used.
(UK) a local property tax calculated according to the value of property or land. NB see additional notes for important details on current usage.
Landlords can avoid paying empty property rates by leasing them to local charities.