Planning permission and building regulations are the essential first steps for individuals considering offering serviced or self-catering accommodation (‘serviced accommodation’ includes hotels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, farmhouses and inns). In addition, even if individuals are wishing to start offering bed and breakfast in their own home or to equip an existing building as a holiday cottage, ‘change of use’ planning permission may be required.
Advice should be sought from the local authority planning department at a very early stage by individuals considering either starting a new business or converting or extending an existing premises.
Local authorities’ policies on granting planning permission vary – the effects on neighbours, car parking facilities and the number of bedrooms offered for letting, are all types of issue that an authority may take into consideration when deciding whether planning permission is necessary or when considering an application.
Consent for any signs to be erected on a property may also be required.
Structural alterations to a property or the construction of a new building will also be subject to building regulations. Even if individuals are not thinking of altering the property to accommodate bed and breakfast guests and planning permission is not required, some building work may be needed in order to meet building regulations requirements. Again, advice should be sought as soon as possible from the local authority building control department.