Choosing the right commercial premises is part of operating a successful company. This guide highlights business premises regulations and the required permissions.
BUSINESS PREMISES: Several options are available when selecting the best site to run a business. You might choose to:
In most cases, financial circumstances will determine the type of business premises. But, the location, site, or office can also depend on:
Note: This section is a basic guide to business premises rules and regulations. It is wise to get legal advice before selecting a commercial property and location.
Often, operating a small business at home is the most cost effective way of starting a business venture. Even so, as a rule you must also:
Note: You must get the right approvals when running a business from home. Failing to do so can result in severe financial penalties. It can also mean you need to find alternative business premises as well.
If you want to start running a business from home premises, you are likely to need extra permission from:
Note: You also need permission to advertise a business on the outside of a home property. But, you can appeal against planning consent decision to display an advertisement if the application gets refused.
As a rule, you will need an appropriate insurance policy for a home-based business. You may already have home insurance cover. But, it may not cover customer liability or the stock used in the business (e.g. computers).
Note: Different insurance companies offer varying levels of insurance cover for business premises. BIBA, is the British Insurance brokers' Association and they can help you search for an insurance broker. Their 'Find-A-Broker' tool returns results based on the distance set by your location or postcode.
You would most likely be operating as a sole trader or as part of a business partnership. In this case, your Self Assessment tax return can include the business costs.
You would be able to claim a proportion of the cost of most things used in the business. They include the council tax bill, the cost of lighting, heating, broadband, and for phone calls. Using the flat rate system means you can calculate simplified allowable expenses. It would apply after the 2013 to 2014 tax year.
There may be liabilities for Capital Gains Tax. The part of the property used for the business may be liable for tax when you sell your home.
Note: You must manage health and safety rules and regulations when using a residential property for business.
APPEALS PROCESS: How to appeal a decision about a lawful development certificate and grounds for doing so. Check what documents you need to supply and what happens after appealing.
MANAGING ASBESTOS: A section explaining asbestos regulations for a commercial property and the penalties. Find out your responsibilities on asbestos health and safety and keeping records.
COMMERCIAL CCTV USAGE: You can protect your property with cameras and surveillance. The ICO CCTV Code of Practice explains how to follow the Data Protection Act.
BREAK CLAUSE: The guide explains how to end a commercial lease earlier than planned. Find out what happens if you breach the terms of the lease and how to use a break clause in an agreement.
RENEWING A LEASE: Most tenants will have the right to renew a commercial property lease when it ends. But, some business tenancies do not have automatic renewal rights.
AIR CONDITIONING: You must get your air conditioning system inspected every 5 years. An energy assessor will make sure it is energy efficient.
COMMERCIAL EPC: Check if your business property needs a commercial Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Find out how to apply, commercial EPC exemptions, and the penalties involved.
NON-DOMESTIC: The non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme helps businesses, public sector and non-profit organisations meet the cost of installing renewable heat technologies.
LAND OR BUILDINGS: The right to contest means you can ask the government to sell property that is vacant or underused. Learn how to find and contact government agencies, councils, and public bodies.
RENTING A BUSINESS PROPERTY: The section explains the responsibilities of tenants in commercial property agreements. Check the rules for a tenant on health and safety, repairs and maintenance, and moving out.
WORKING TEMPERATURES: Employers must provide their workers with 'reasonable' workplace temperatures. Check what the law says about working temperatures in the United Kingdom.
Business Premises Regulations: A Guide to Commercial Property in the United Kingdom