Frequently Asked Questions

If I am trading from home, do I need to notify the local council and have a plaque outside the door with my company name?

If you are purely administering your business from home, then it is unlikely that you will need to obtain any consents or planning permissions from the local council. Some businesses however need to be registered with their local authority regardless of whether they're run from home or not. Tattooists, food producers, hotels, pubs and many healthcare businesses are examples of enterprises which must register under all circumstances.

There are no hard and fast rules indicating whether your home and business is likely to need planning permission, and each case is taken on its individual merits by the local authority. Your local authority will ask four questions:

  • Will your home no longer be mainly used as a residence?
  • Is there likely to be a rise in people or traffic?
  • Will your business involve activities unusual for a residential area?
  • Is your business likely to disturb your neighbours by being noisy or smelly?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you are likely to need planning permission.

Bear in mind that minor exterior alterations - the addition of a telephone cable, or mounting a sign on the front of your house, for example - may not alter the overall character of your building and you are unlikely to require planning permission. Special rules apply to rural businesses or those located in green belt areas, and you should contact your local authority to find out what arrangements apply.

Your mortgage may include an agreement forbidding the use of your home for business so you should check this carefully. Most tenancy agreements covering rented homes and flats explicitly forbid the tenant carrying out any sort of business activity.

Your domestic insurer may need to be informed of the change of use of part of your home, and your home and contents insurance policy may not cover a home-based business. If in doubt, check with your insurers.

If you need a more detailed response or would like to know more about how we can support your business, please contact us by using our Contact Us form, or alternatively you can email us at or call us on 0844 2640390