Leaving home: points to consider
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Most of our businesses on Bitsy are based at home but maybe you’re thinking of leaving home to take on office premises or a shop. If so, you’ll need to think about a few factors.
Fit for business
As a business owner, you will be responsible for ensuring your new premises are fit for business, although if you’re a tenant, your landlord may also share this responsibility. Consider these areas:
- The survey
- Service charges
- Health and safety
As well as highlighting any costly structural problems, a survey is required to assess whether or not your premises comply with health & safety and planning regulations. You may also need to seek advice on disabled access for employees and members of the public, an important part of your obligations under the Equality Act 2010.
Who can help?
A chartered surveyor will advise you on the structural state of the building, and any alterations needed to make it sound. The Equality and Human Rights Commission can provide information about accessibility.
Assess the impact that service charges will have on your yearly outgoings. These costs cover things like maintenance, insurance, cleaning and security.
Who can help?
Ask existing tenants about the level of service charges and whether the landlord provides efficient services. Also, investigate whether significant expenditure is expected in the near future. A solicitor or surveyor may be able to negotiate a cap on your service charge liability.
Health & safety
Failure to meet health & safety regulations could result in fines. Regulations cover both the state of the premises and working conditions, specifically things like machinery safety, noise, and fire procedures, as well as specific rules applicable to your industry.
Who can help?
The Health and Safety Executive – www.hse.gov.uk - provides guidelines on specific working practices. Consider also taking advice from your solicitor and your local fire safety officer.
Also consider having a solicitor or surveyor to check your lease for any restrictive or unfair terms and be mindful of insurance required including:
- Employers Liability Insurance – Provides protection against liability to your employees for injury or disease arising out of their employment.
- Public Liability Insurance – Provides protection against claims from members of the public for injuries suffered on your premises or as a result of an employee’s activity.
- Insurance for the premises and equipment – If you lease your premises, your landlord will normally be responsible for insuring the building, and your lease terms may include suspension of rent if something happens preventing you from using the site.
After reading this, you may decide home remains the best place for business! But when moving out, do so with these factors clearly in mind.
This post is sponsored by Lloyds TSB Commercial. Lloyds TSB Commercial offers a range of guidance and support to help you achieve business success. For more information, please visit www.lloydstsbbusiness.com
Lloyds TSB Commercial is a trading name of Lloyds TSB Bank plc and Lloyds TSB Scotland plc and serves customers with an annual turnover of up to £15M.
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
Photo credit: skippyjon