Assured Shorthold Tenant and Working From Home

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    Assured Shorthold Tenant and Working From Home

    We've been assured shorthold tenants for about 18 months with our current landlords and I'd like to work from home.

    In our tenancy agreement one of the covenants is:
    "Not to carry on any trade, profession or business on or from the premises..."

    Is there any way around this and what concerns might our landlords have?

    The business would be making arts and crafts items (which I already do as a hobby) to sell; mainly locally and at markets with possibly some mail order sales. It would not be a massive business as I highly value family time and have three children - two with disabilities.

    People visiting the house in relation to my business would be very unlikely and the only machinery I'd be using is a glass kiln (I need to sell my arts and crafts to finance the purchase of this) which works on normal mains electricity.

    I know I would need business insurance but would my business effect the landlords insurance?

    The landlords are very very particular and look after the property well and I don't want to upset them as we're just on a month to month let now and we don't want to have to move again until we are ready.

    Any thoughts, information and advice would be gratefully received.

    With thanks
    S Thomas

    'Is there any way round this?'

    Well, the obvious one would be to contact the landlord and get his permission in writing to do what you want to do. You would present a case, similar to the explanation you have given here, and hope he is okay with your plans. He has no obligation to agree but the tenancy agreement is probably from a generic template - he has probably never even considered a tenant making such a request.

    You would need to have a word with the council to see if business rates would be applicable too.


      Originally posted by S Thomas View Post
      Is there any way around this and what concerns might our landlords have?
      I agree with Snorkerz assessment...
      Yes, it might well impact the landlord's buildings insurance; also if he has a mortgage the lender may have something to say on the subject, too (which is not to say that this is necessarily insurmountable).

      He might be concerned about extra damage or wear and tear to the property (kiln= fire risk, for example? Chemical fumes?

      One issue about running a business from home (from a council tax and insurance point of view) is always whether people will visit the property - if you are able to pre-empt that one by stating that nobody will come to the property in connection with your business, that will help your case.


        What hasn't been considered is that if the tenant is allowed to run a business from home it will no longer be an AST and therefore is subject to automatic rights of renewal by the tenant who will have a tenancy under the auspices the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954!
        The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.


          That's interesting, Paul. Why is that?


            See section 23 (1) LTA 1954. It provides that Part II applies to "premises which are occupied by the tenant and are so occupied for the purposes of a business carried on by him or for those and other purposes". However, section 23 says it does not apply if the use is in breach of covenant unless the landlord consents or acquiesces.

            It is of course sometimes going to come down to a question of degree. If you have a normal domestic kitchen and bake lots of cakes and sell them, or do a bit of dressmaking, or work from a computer then that is probably not going to be in breach of a standard covenant to use property for domestic purposes only. Bringing in a kiln does though sound like crossing the line.


              I guess the answer is to understand the legal impact on the property that this business would create. Have you contacted the council/planning department to get their views on it?


                Thanks everyone for the helpful replies.

                I'm only just at the beginning of getting information together.

                I haven't contacted the Council - it is not an avenue I'd considered as I won't be using any part of our rented home exclusively and the small scale of what I'll be doing.

                I've worked from home (back in Yorkshire in a house I owned) as a complementary therapist and as I didn't use any area exclusively for my business I didn't have to pay business rates.

                The Section 23 thing is interesting but I'm not sure the kiln will make a difference as its only a small table top one - nothing like the size of a pottery kiln.
                It will be a similar size to those using them as a hobby.

                I think I'll check out if it is a standard clause with the landlords agent and get the agents thoughts too - the agents have been very balanced in our experience.

                Thanks again
                S Thomas


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