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Accommodation Support and Advice

Thanet District Council can offer specialist advice to help you set up and open a B&B, hotel, guest house or other type of visitor accommodation:

Planning Permission

Whether you need planning permission will depend on the scale of the proposed business use in relation to the existing use of the property the impact of the use on the character of the property or local area.

Planning Section for more

Building Regulations

Building works on a B&B, hotel, guest house or self-catering accommodation may need a Building Regulation application to be submitted to the Council. Issues to consider include alterations to the structure and drainage, roof and thermal insulation, fire precautions and sound insulation.

Building Control Section for more

Environmental Health

If you let rooms in your home and provide breakfast or other meals you will need to register as a food business and to consider issues such as noise, odour, trade waste management and contaminated land.

Any such business is required to register with the council at least 28 days before the business is due to start operating and registration is free. Detailed advice and guidance is available free from the Food Safety Team page on the Thanet District Council website and the Food Standards Agency website. Suitable food hygiene courses are available both online and from local providers such as East Kent College. A registration form can be obtained from the food safety team

Basic requirements for food premises include that the:

  • premises are clean and in good repair
  • food is protected from contamination
  • food handlers are trained
  • there is a written food safety system in place

Contact the team on 01843 577000 or by e-mail at environmental.health@thanet.gov.uk 

Health and Safety (General)

In running visitor accommodation your home becomes a workplace. Although you may not employ anyone, you have a duty under Health and Safety legislation for the safety of your guests whilst they are on your premises.

Key areas are:

  • Safe access and egress at your home;
  • Safety of the electrical system and any electrical appliances you may provide for the guests’ use;
  • Make sure that furnishings, particularly the bed, are fit for purpose and comply with fire retardant standards;
  • Provide metal waste bins, not bins made of combustible or heat vulnerable material;
  • Try to keep beds away from windows with low sills by at least 500mm. If this is unavoidable, make sure that the glazing is toughened. If children are being accommodated, restrict the opening of any window;
  • Remove risks that might cause your guests to slip, trip or fall;
  • If your pets for example dogs, are aggressive to visitors you will need to take sensible precautions;
  • Ensure that your guests are shown how to leave the premises in the event of an emergency.
  • A fire risk assessment must be completed. Guidance is available at www.cfoa.org.uk/download/14597  

Further information can be found on the following websites

Health & Safety Executive       Health & Safety Made Simple     Things All Businesses Need To Do         Control the Risks in Your Business

Environmental Health Section for more

Smoke-Free Legislation

All visitor accommodation establishments now must be smoke-free. Guest bedrooms can be designated as available for smokers but other enclosed parts of the property will have to be smoke-free. The garden will be an exception but ‘No Smoking’ signs will also need to be displayed at the guest entrances. For further advice visit www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/1536/made

Licensing

If you are planning on selling alcohol and/or supplying hot food and drink after 11pm, you will need to contact the Licensing Department to gain a licence for the premises.

Contact the team on 01843 577432 or by email at licensing@thanet.gov.uk

 

If you are opening a business, you need to check whether Business Rates apply to the property from where the business operates.

Business Rates

The Council’s Business Rates team can advise whether the property is currently rated for business rates.

If the property is not rated the council can arrange an inspection and contact the Valuation Office Agency to ascertain whether the property should be rated for business or domestic.

If you run a business from a property that you also occupy as your sole/main residence, your property will be a “composite”. This means that you would pay Council Tax on the part that you live in and Business Rates on the part that you run as your business. Business rates are only payable when you are able to accommodate six or more guests.

See our Business Rates Section for more