Household admin: who to tell when running a business from home

Household admin: who to tell when running a business from home
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise NationEnterprise Nation

Posted: Mon 29th Aug 2011

Over 60% of businesses are started from home on account of the low costs and lack of commute. When you start and grow your business from home, you may have a few questions about whom you need to inform. Here are the answers!

Q: Do I need planning permission?

A: You'll need planning permission to base the business at home if you answer 'yes' to any of these questions:

  • will your home no longer be used mainly as a private residence?

  • will your business result in a marked rise in traffic or people calling?

  • will your business involve any activities that are unusual in a residential area?

  • will your business disturb the neighbours at unreasonable hours or create other forms of nuisance such as noise or smells?

If your house is pretty much going to remain a house, with your business quietly accommodated within it, then permission shouldn't be required. If you're unsure, contact your local council to seek their views.

Q: Do I need to tell the local authority I'm working from home?

A: This depends on whether you pass the planning test. If you need planning permission, you'll have to inform your local authority. If you don't, then the only benefit of telling them is that they'll charge you business rates (rather than council tax) on the part of the house being used for business purposes - not really much of an incentive! Business rates are different in each area and something that should be agreed with your local authority. Business Rates information on Business Link website:

Q: Do I need to tell the landlord?

A: Yes, it's best to let them know that you will be working from home. The good news is that the coalition government announced on 1 November 2010 that social landlords should review any contracts prohibiting people from running a business from home.

Q: Do I need to inform my mortgage provider?

A: Yes, it's best to let them know - even though it shouldn't mean any change in the mortgage repayment.

Q:What about my insurance provider? Do they need to know?

A: Yes, do inform your insurance company. Tell them about the equipment and stock you have at home. An upgrade from domestic to a business policy is not usually expensive so don't be put off in making this call. Your insurance provider is likely to recommend that you also take out public liability insurance in case anyone who comes to visit suffers an injury in or around your home office.

Q: Do I need protection for when customers and contacts come to visit?

A: Yes, carry out a health and safety check, which is easy to do by following the steps set out by the Health and Safety Executive in their Homeworking guide (pdf available at Health and Safety Executive:

Q: Should I tell the neighbours?

A: Yes! It's always best to keep the neighbours happy and onside! Photo credit: purprin

Enterprise Nation
Enterprise NationEnterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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