If you run a hotel, guesthouse or bed and breakfast, if you let out self-catering accommodation or are involved with running tourism accommodation, you need to be aware of the legislation that applies to such businesses. There are many, many rules that apply to these types of business and it is vital to not only be aware of these but to implement them and to constantly review any changes.
By keeping up to date with legislation changes you can avoid claims, prosecution and fines.
Most people will have some basic knowledge of the rules that apply. Some of the most obvious ones would be to do with health and safety, hygiene and more recently changes to smoking in public places. But these are just the tip of the iceberg, there are a whole host of rules that need to be followed when running a successful business in tourism accommodation.
Lets look at the premises as an example. You need to consider whether business rates apply to your property. This can depend on how many people you will allow to stay at any one time and for how long. It is also calculated on how much of the property is used for business purposes. You need to consider what licences you need for your premises; if you have installed TV’s then you will need to obtain a TV licence. If you play any copyright music in public on your premises you need to obtain a Performing Right Society Licence (although many people do not do this). There are a variety of regulations and permissions required for premise signage. You will obviously want to promote your business effectively and many people will have illuminated building signs on or beside the property. The need for consent from the planning authority depends on whether signs are fully, partially or non-illuminated and where they are situated.
Health and safety aspects are probably the most prominent rules that business owners are aware of. Get these wrong and you could be in big trouble. Fire safety in hotels and guesthouses is governed by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This requires the ‘responsible person’ in virtually all workplaces, including hotels, guesthouses and similar premises, to adopt a self assessment approach to fire safety in the workplace. The regulations apply to all accommodation premises including self-catering accommodation.
The list of rules to comply with is extensive and will include:
Planning and building
Signs for your premises
Health and safety at work
Hazards in the workplace
Smoking in public places
Food safety and hygiene
Pricing and charging
By coming to terms with how these apply to your business you can be confident that you have a well run and legal business. You, your staff and guests will also be a lot safer and more comfortable. Further information on this topic can be found on the Holiday Let Mortgages website at http://www.holidayletmortgages.co.uk/accommodationknowhow.htm where you will also find a special offer reduced subscription to the Accommodation Know-How website run by VisitBritain, Englands national tourism agency.