Legal Aspects of Working from Home in the United Kingdom

Working in the comforts of home might sound quite appealing; however, there are legal complications that must be considered. Like any other working environment, a home that has an office or space set aside for business becomes vulnerable to the same risks that any other business faces. The protection of the proper insurances play a key role in protecting the well being of a home based business, just as they do in any off site company run business because most of the risks involved in running a business likewise apply. For example, should a client or third party enter a home to conduct business and trip or fall over a computer cord, the same rules of public liability would apply as it would have done had the premises been an office, shop or factory. The client or third party would likely file a claim for injuries. On the other hand, should a home business owner travel to a client or third party's site to conduct business and caused some damage or injuries, he or she could well be held liable for damages.

It is also necessary for any one running a business from home with help from other employees, other than close relatives, to carry employers' liability cover. This is not an option, as is public liability - it is mandatory. Anyone with employees must have an official certificate clearly accessible to any employee or official should one stop by. The certificate must give all details pertaining to the type of employers' insurance in place. Hefty fines are enforced, usually on a daily basis, should this insurance not be in place.

Professional Indemnity

Another type of cover to consider when running a UK home business is professional indemnity insurance. This is important because it protects a home business owner in case damages occur to a client or third party, as a result of alleged professional negligence. For instance, a home based architect could provide a set of plans for a building which subsequently collapsed, a computer programmer working from home could provide a programme which caused a catastrophic loss of data, a home based trichologist could recommend a course of hair treatments that caused a clients' hair to fall out. All these should be covered by a professional indemnity policy.

Many home based businesses require an individual to hold stock at home. Tools and other equipment may not be covered under a general home owner's policy. Therefore, it is important to consider tool and equipment cover, which can be added on to a homeowner's business policy for a modest fee. In the unfortunate event that tools, stock or equipment are lost or stolen - this insurance is vital to ensure a home based business can continue without catastrophic effects.

Another insurance consideration for those running a business out of a home is income replacement, should the owner become disabled for a variety of reasons. Taking out an accident or sickness policy will help make up for the income lost, whilst the owner recovers or is in the process of trying to recoup losses because of the sickness or accident.

In addition to insurance, a home-based business owner should also check with local officials to make sure that the business is abiding by the local rules and regulations in place. Any home business owner in the UK must realise the legal structures involved and think carefully about what structure applies to the type of business. A list of questions that should be addressed include:
-Who should be notified in the way of city officials to know your business is up and running?
-What tax structures need to be in place to legally run your business?
-Are you competent to handle the financial liabilities should your company face hardships?
-Are you ready to take on employees if you cannot handle all the work yourself?

When running a home based business, the best advice that can be offered is to cover all possibilities, and ensure that where possible they are covered by insurance provisions.

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