Choosing business property

Legal considerations when choosing business property

If you own or occupy business premises, you need to understand the legal obligations and restrictions that may affect you. For example:

  • The premises must have planning permission that allows them to be used for your type of business.
  • You must comply with building, fire, and health and safety regulations. See fire safety and risk assessment.
  • Stamp duty is payable on commercial leases and you are likely to be liable for business rates, though in rented premises these may be paid by the landlord.
  • You are responsible for the health and safety of employees and visitors. SeeĀ what workplace facilities do you need to provide?
  • You also need to provide a suitable working environment.
  • If you provide goods or services to the public, you must take reasonable steps to make your premises accessible. See access and facilities for disabled people.
  • You need to comply with the terms of any lease or licence agreement. See commercial property: landlord and tenant responsibilities.
  • For some businesses, you may require a licence to operate or to sell certain products.
  • There may be restrictions on times when deliveries are allowed, noise and pollution levels, and how you or your customers dispose of waste.
  • Whatever premises you choose, you need to ensure that you are properly insured. See insure your business and assets.

If you are in any doubt about your legal obligations, you should take legal advice from your business adviser or solicitor. Choose and work with a solicitor.