There’s nothing wrong with working or running a business from a garden office, in fact its a great option, but there are a few people who will need to know:
You may need to apply for Planning Permission if you are working from a garden office, whether on not you need to apply will depend on the type of work / business you will be conducting.
Whilst garden buildings such as garden offices can be built under Permitted Development rules, and therefore can be built without the need for full Planning Permission, the Permitted Development rules state that the use of the building should be incidental to the use of the main house, and not all work / business activities can be classed as incidental to the occupancy of the main house.
We look at this subject in more detail in our Garden Office Planning Permission Guide.
If you have a mortgage on your house you will need to read your contract to check there are no exclusions to working from home, not all mortgage companies allow it. At the very least your contract probably says you must inform them if you plan to work or run a business from home.
Household & Buildings Insurer
You will undoubtedly have insurance polices that cover the contents and structure of your house, if you decide to work from a garden office you should ensure that you tell these insurers that you are now working from home, as not telling them can invalidate your policies!
Health & Safety
If you have staff or clients, working or visiting your garden office, you should check with your Local Authorities Health & Safety department to see if there are any potential risks to health or safety that you need to comply with.
In some cases working or running a business from home can effect your Council Tax, with the room/s being used for commercial operations becoming liable for Business Rates whilst the rest of the house remains a domestic property.
Whether your use of a garden office will effect your Council Tax is judged on a case by case basis, read this page on the Gov.uk website for more information on the subject.
There are many financial benefits to working or running a business from a garden office, and you should talk with your accountant during the planning stage so as to take full benefit of these.
Some garden office designs e.g. those that are considered portable are more tax efficient than others. If you are VAT registered you may be able to reclaim the VAT on the garden office purchase.
Your accountant will also be able to advise you on Capital Gains Tax, as having worked from a garden office can make it liable for Capital Gains Tax when you come to sell your house.
We don’t profess to be tax experts, so please do talk to your accountant so you make the best financial decision when buying your building.
If you are a lone homeworker working from a garden office will have little impact on your neighbours, but in situations where you employ staff to work with you or if you have clients visiting, it is probably wise to talk to your neighbours and explain what your activities will entail and how they will impact on them.
Neighbours can be funny things, and often small misunderstandings or lack of communication can cause big problems. Our experience has told us that neighbours are normally worried about noise from the building, if it will overlook their garden and if its going to create increased traffic / parking in the neighbourhood, one quick conversation could reassure them on all of this!