Contractors' Questions: Can I freelance from my rented property?

Contractor's Question : My rental agreement has a clause against using the property for business purposes. How strictly is this likely to interpreted, regarding use of the property by a freelance contractor? Although I plan to do some of my work from the house, I wouldn't be having any clients or client staff over. Still, I am worried that my landlord will cite the clause and say "No, you can't do that, it's a breach of contract".

Expert's Answer : It doesn't matter what degree of business you are operating if you operate a business from your rental property in such a way then prima facie you are in breach of the agreement. However, I say this without having reviewed the terms of the agreement itself.

The reason for such a clause is that if you run a business from a premises then it needs to have the required planning permission and you need to pay business rates. Where the required permissions are not in place, the planning office will approach the owner of the freehold who will simply point to the rental agreement in place between yourselves, which makes it clear that the property is not to be used for business purposes thus pushing the responsibility onto you.

Practically speaking, many people freelance from rented properties. However to err on the side of caution, I would advise that you consult your landlord and also the local planning department.

The expert was Ben Evans, a trainee solicitor at Lawdit Solicitors , a legal adviser to contract professionals.