My tenant wants to run a physio business from my property... What does this mean for me?

Question

A prospective tenant wanted to run a physiotherapy business from my property, but I’m not sure what this means for me - Are there any implications?

Answer

Working from home is becoming increasingly popular, so more and more landlords are having to look at the possibility of accepting that their tenants may be using their properties as a working space as well as a home.

However, if your tenant is looking to use your property for a health profession, such as physiotherapy, the situation is slightly different to someone who just wants to pop a laptop on the kitchen table!

Your first step should be a phone call to your local planning authority, as operating a business like this from a residential property make require change of usage, or possibly even planning permission.

If you have a mortgage on the property, you should also check with both your mortgage and insurance providers that these changes won’t affect your policies, and be aware that bringing a business into the premises may have a significant effect on your mortgage premium. If this is the case, make sure the rental income covers the increase in mortgage payments, as you don't want your tenant’s business to cost you money! Also, make sure that your potential tenant has the relevant insurances for the business. It is standard practice for most landlords to insist on evidence of tenant's holding contents insurance before they move in, but don't forget that if there is expensive medical equipment being stored within your property, it should be properly insured, possibly on a separate policy to general contents.

If your property is a flat, your leasehold contract may dictate that you are not allowed to run a business from the property. In which case, you need to communicate this to the prospective tenant.

Even if everything adds up to be in favour of the business, you should still consider the logistics of running such a business form a residential property. Consider the impact that it could have on the neighbours for example - with changes to footfall, parking and strangers accessing the property. Also, if you are only considering a short lease, it might not be the most helpful option to your prospective tenant's business, as moving around all the time doesn't look very positive to customers!

Ultimately, you need to be comfortable with the idea of your property being used as a base for a business. If you are not, you should make this clear to the prospective tenant and go your separate ways. If you are happy with the idea, make sure that you have a proper lease

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