Legal requirements for tourism businesses

Planning permission and building control for tourism businesses

If you plan to open a small bed and breakfast in your own home, you will not necessarily need planning permission to start your business. The key test to decide if you need planning permission is whether the overall nature of the house will change. For example, a building changing from a private home to business premises.

Changing the use of premises

If your home will no longer be used mainly as a private residence, and your business activities will affect the area where you live then planning consent for a change of use will likely be needed. Things affecting the local area include disturbance to neighbours and increased footfall.

You only need planning permission if the new building use is classed differently from the current one. For example, changing the building from a greengrocer to a shoe shop will not need planning permission as both are classed as shops. However, if you’re changing a home into a guest house then planning permission will be needed.

New premises

If you are agreeing a lease or buying a new property for your accommodation start-up, you should consider in advance if you need to get planning permission for your intended use. Also think about what your chances of getting it are. Contact your local area planning office for their advice at an early stage. 

Building regulations

Building regulations apply if you plan to convert, extend or make structural alterations to an existing property, or construct a new building. These rules set standards on the safety and stability of any building work.

If you’re planning on carrying out work on your premises, you must apply with your local Building Control Office