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Things to consider when setting up a home business

Home working is now the most popular option for those starting a business, with over 60% of start ups choosing to be based at home. Before setting up your business at home, or changing your business base to home, there are several legal aspects to consider.

Planning permission

Should you need to make any significant changes to your home, for example building an additional entrance or extending the property, you are likely to require planning permission. Your home and any changes will also be subject to building regulations, such as compliance with fire safety regulations.

House deed covenants

You may find there are covenants in your house deeds which restrict you from using your home as a base for business. These are often found in properties on new housing developments, and can sometimes also restrict you from parking liveried commercial vehicles at your house.

Health and safety

By operating a business from home, you take on the legal responsibility of the health and welfare of any employees, customers or visitors. Failure to comply with Health and Safety rules can be costly if something goes wrong.

Insurance

Employer’s liability insurance is a requirement if you employ people to work for your business from your home – even if they are family, close relatives or friends. You are likely to also require public liability insurance if members of the public, such as clients and suppliers, will be visiting your home. This will protect you if they have an accident or suffer an injury whilst on your property. Your buildings and contents insurance should be reviewed to ensure it covers any potential losses to business equipment, materials or stock.

General considerations

It is important to consider the impact your home business may have on your neighbours and the local area. Is your business likely to cause excessive traffic and disruption by visiting customers or deliveries? Will it cause increased noise, light or smells in the local area? A lack of consideration of these issues is likely to lead to complaints from neighbours.

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