Legal considerations when choosing business premises
If you own or occupy business premises, you need to understand the legal obligations and restrictions that 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
- 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
- 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
- You need to comply with the terms of any lease or licence agreement
- 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.
In licensed or leased premises, responsibilities are shared between the landlord and the tenant. Whatever premises you choose, you need to ensure that you are properly insured. If you are in any doubt about your legal obligations, you should take advice from a business adviser or solicitor.
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