Legal Issues

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Starting A Business at Home – Keeping It Legal!

Before setting up a business at home, you need to consider a number of issues.

Your Mortgage Contract or Tenancy Agreement

You will need to check whether these prevent you from working from home. Some social housing tenants, for example, may be barred from doing this or may require you to seek their permission.

Your Home Insurance Cover

This also needs checked. You may be required to inform you home insurer if you start to use part or all of your house as a business . If you do not do so, you may find your insurance cover for your business activities is invalid.

Business Rates

You may be liable to pay business rates on the part of your home used for work. The key issue is the extent and frequency to which the room or rooms are used for work and whether or not any modifications have been made to the building to accommodate work use. If any room is used exclusively for business or has been modified to enable the business use to take place, business rates might need to be paid. You are recommended to contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) for further advice via this link

Health and Safety

Anyone running a business from home is also subject to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. if you use your home as a 'business workplace', it is a legal requirement to carry out a health and safety risk assessment to identify any possible hazards to yourself, workers, visitors and other members of your household. The obligatory risk assessment must take account of hazards ranging from work equipment, fire, excessive noise, tripping, loneliness and stress. Having evaluated whether such hazards are significant, the business owner needs to take sufficient precautions to minimise the attendant risks.

Planning Issues

Those considering working from home or setting up a business within the home are advised to seek informal advice first, using our pre-application advice service.

Any such requests (except those relating solely to works to trees) will need to be completed using our online form. The request for any development type will need to be accompanied by the documentation detailed in the appropriate pre-application advice checklist and the correct fee for the type of response you want to receive from us. Enquiries that relate solely to trees should be emailed to