The following provides an introduction to some of the legal and other requirements that businesses, whether new or expanding an existing business, should consider:

Fire Precautions Act 1971 and Fire Precautions (Hotels and Boarding Houses) Order 1972:

At present, operators providing accommodation for more than 6 people (including guests, staff and children) will need a Fire Certificate. Contact the local fire authority for further details.

Reform of fire safety legislation – Fire Certificates will not be required under new rules which come into force in Autumn 2006. The Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 will reform all fire safety legislation for non-domestic premises. Under the new rules employers or owners of the premises must agree with the fire authorities on appropriate systems to manage fire risks and to provide for emergencies. All businesses and self-employed people are affected.

The Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 (as amended in 1999):

With effect from 1 December 1997, operators employing staff at business premises are required to carry out a risk assessment to determine the nature and extent of fire precautions required for the business.

Business Rates:

A new system for business rates came into force in 1990. Under this, the rateable value of a business is set by the local Valuation Officers of the Inland Revenue, as before, but a Uniform Business Rate, which is the rate paid by a business for each pound of its rateable value, is set at national level each year and is the same throughout England. Collection of business rates lies with the local authority in which the property is based. People offering bed and breakfast accommodation in their own homes for no more than six guests may be exempt from business rates, provided that the B&B activity is no more than a subsidiary use of the home. The Valuation Office of the Inland Revenue assesses whether or not the B&B activity is a subsidiary use of the home.


It is important to recognise that failing to have the right form of insurance can lead to the collapse of a business. Some examples of types of insurance cover to consider include: public and products liability, loss of revenue, fire and other perils and accidental damage. Accommodation establishments seeking promotion through the VisitBritain Assurance Scheme must have public liability insurance. Additionally, by law, operators must have employers’ liability insurance if staff are employed.

Accounts and Tax Requirements:

Keeping accurate records and the fulfilment of all tax requirements is essential, and operators should consult the Inland Revenue or an accountant on the tax situation regarding income and expenses from the business.

Accounts and Tax Requirements:

Keeping accurate records and the fulfilment of all tax requirements is essential, and operators should consult the Inland Revenue or an accountant on the tax situation regarding income and expenses from the business.

Visitors Register:

Operators must keep a record of the date of arrival, full name and nationality of guests over 16 years old. A guest who is not a citizen of Great Britain or the Commonwealth must also put down the number and place of issue of his or her passport and their next destination. Records must be kept for a minimum of twelve months and be available for inspection by a police officer or duly authorised person.

Price Display:

Under the Tourism (Sleeping Accommodation Price Display) Order 1977, for establishments with four bedrooms or more, or eight beds, prices (including VAT if applicable) must be displayed prominently in either the entrance or reception area.
Another price marking code relates to the display of prices if food is sold to non-residents for consumption on the premises.
Note, the Consumer Protection Act 1987 makes it an offence to give misleading prices by any means.

Electrical Systems and Equipment:

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 require that all electrical systems in places of work must be maintained ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’ to avoid danger to all who use the premises.

Gas Safety Equipment:

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 require that all gas appliances are maintained in a safe condition so as to prevent risk of injury to any person.


If staff are employed, irrespective of whether they are employed on a full-time or part-time, there are various laws and regulations to comply with. These include payment of wages, national insurance and tax, issuing terms and conditions of employment as well as various health and safety issues. Contact your local Business Link Office for advice on these and other aspects of starting and running a business.

Site Licence:

Under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960, most caravan sites require a site licence. These are issued by local authorities (only after planning permission has been granted), and specify conditions relating to factors such as the number of pitches, layout, landscaping, safety and sanitary arrangements.

National Accommodation Schemes:

The VisitBritain Quality Assurance Schemes are the official endorsement of an establishment’s quality standards. To find out more, click on the ‘Quality Assurance’ section of this website.

The Euro and its affect on businesses:

Trading in the euro became a legal requirement for businesses in 12 European countries on 1 January 2002. From that date, euro notes and coins were introduced within the euro area.

Yorkshire welcomes approximately one million overseas visitors each year. It is important for businesses dealing regularly with overseas customers to consider whether being able to deal in euros gives them the competitive edge.

The use of the euro may grow quickly and, with it, pressure for businesses in the UK to trade in the currency. Businesses in the tourist areas that have a high

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