Running a Business From Home Policy

Version Number: V2.1
Policy Owner: Community Safety and Protection of Assets Lead


1. Aim of policy

1.1. Running a business from home is becoming increasingly common, it is estimated that currently one in four people now carry out some kind of work from home.

1.2. Historically some social landlords including City West have tended to discourage tenants from running a business from their home. Often this has been based on a concern that the kind of businesses that could be run from home, such as vehicle repair and maintenance, might cause a nuisance to neighbours.

1.3. However, as technology has become more accessible, opportunities for other forms of remote working have become more common and the nature of home working has changed.

1.4. There are many types of business that a tenant could run from home without causing any difficulties. For example, there would rarely be a good reason to prevent a tenant from using their home as an office for an Internet or phone based business. However, the proportion of social housing tenants who work or run businesses from home is still much lower than in the population in general.

1.5. City West has a commitment to supporting training and back to work initiatives for local residents, also we are committed to supporting our customers into work through the Working Neighbourhood initiative.

1.6. City West also recognises that people may wish to work from their homes, whether on an employed basis for their employer or in running their own business as an individual, partnership or limited company.

1.7. This policy explains how City West will seek to achieve a reasonable and responsible balance between the needs of our customers who wish to run businesses from their homes and considering others in the neighbourhood.

1.8. For all social landlords, the next few years will provide a set of new challenges in protecting and maximising rental income streams. Many landlords are already reacting and taking steps to address these challenges.

1.9. Encouraging our customers to explore opportunities to work or run a business from home is another way in which City West can promote employment and increase the economic viability and sustainability of our neighbourhoods.

1.10. This Policy aims to support City West customers in running a business from home, and to also support City West in maximising rental income streams.

1.11. The aims of this policy are:
• To generally grant permission to allow a resident to run a business from home providing that the work or business they carry out does not breach any planning laws, the tenancy agreement and is not likely to cause any nuisance or disturbance to others in the neighbourhood.
• To take action against customers who breach planning laws, or their tenancy agreement or in line with our Anti-Social Behaviour Policy.
• To take action against customers if we receive justified complaints about the running of a business from their home.
• To reinforce the term of our tenancy agreements relating to the use of the home for residential purposes only.
• To treat all customers in a fair and non-discriminatory way, in accordance with the City West Equality & Diversity policy.

2. The policy

2.1. A Business is defined as:
• “A system in which goods and services are exchanged for one another or for money on the basis of their perceived worth”, or
• “A commercial activity engaged in as a means of livelihood or profit, or someone who engages in such activities”.

2.2. Application:
• Any requests for running a business from home must be made and received in writing.
• All applicants must provide a licence registering the running of the business from their home.
• All requests from customers to run a business from their home will be considered in line with the policy.
• Each request for permission to run a business from home will be assessed individually.

2.3. The following examples explain what City West may or may not give permission for.

2.4. It is assumed that that the request will be approved unless:
• The business would breach the tenancy
• There are Health & Safety implications that are uncontrolled
• There is the potential for pollution, noise and / or chemical
• The business is likely to cause unreasonable disturbance to neighbours (taking into account, for example, working hours)
• The business requires structural or physical alteration to the building
• The business has the potential to have a negative impact on the community
• It is contrary to the intentions / provisions of the Neighbourhood plan or any local letting policy in place
• The business is to be operated by another person than the tenant.
This list is not exhaustive.

2.5. City West will take into account the following when making a decision to approve or decline a request to run a business from home:
• Impact on the neighbourhood
• Parking requirements
• Storage requirements
• Potential for disturbance to neighbours, including noise generation
• The number of people likely to be visiting the property
• The necessity for consultation, particularly where the business has the potential to impact on neighbours or the wider community.
This list is not exhaustive.

2.6. Appeals
2.6.1. Where an application has been refused, customers may request a review of the decision within 15 working days. Appeals must be put in writing.

2.6.2. A review of the decision will be undertaken by the Regional Manager and a response provided within 20 working days.
2.7. Breaches of Tenancy
2.7.1. Where working or running a business from home, with or without our permission results in a breach of planning laws, or is the subject of justified complaints, City West will insist that the work or business is either stopped immediately or the operation is changed.

2.7.2. If necessary, City West will take action under the terms of the tenancy agreement to obtain possession of the home, if the issue remains unsolved.

3. Legislation and Regulation Standards

3.1. CIH Running a Business From Home briefing – November 2010

4. Delivery and Monitoring

4.1. Delivery
4.1.1. The Policy will be promoted internally to all employees, this will be done via:
• Line managers
• Intranet
• Resource centre.

4.1.2. This policy will be available to all customers via the City West website and a printed copy will be available upon request.

4.1.3. The Regional Manager is responsible for the overall implementation of the Running a Business from Home Policy.

4.2. Monitoring
4.2.1. Regular monitoring will take place to ensure that City West is consistently approving or declining business proposals in line with this policy.

4.2.2. The policy will be reviewed every 2 years, subject to any legislative change.