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By Katie Thear

Providing bed and breakfast accommodation for tourists is a popular way of generating an income in the countryside

Providing bed and breakfast accommodation for tourists is a popular way of generating an income in the countryside, but it is necessary to work out how much time and resources are required.

This will affect the scale of the business and whether the service is available all year round or just during the holiday season.

Planning permission may be needed for a small bed and breakfast business, but it depends on individual circumstances. If it is needed, then factors like car parking facilities, effects on neighbours and the number of bedrooms let are considered.

Further Information

Further information is available from the local council. Help and information, as well as publicity, is available from local and regional tourist boards.

If more than six people, including guests, staff and children are accommodated, a fire certificate from the local fire authority is required.

Even if a certificate is not necessary, it is still a good idea to discuss plans with the fire authority.

All electrical systems must be maintained to avoid danger to those who use the premises, including guests. If accommodation is offered for up to six people, business rates do not apply, provided that the B&B is no more than a subsidiary use of the home. This is determined by the local valuation officer of the tax authority. Further details are available in a free leaflet entitled ‘Bed and Breakfast and the Business Rates’ from the regional tourist board.

If meals are served, you will need to register with the local authority and observe food safety law. All guests over 16 years old must be registered, with details kept for at least 12 months. For laws and regulations regarding full or part time staff, contact the local branch of the Department of Employment.


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