Home office high on tenants' wish list

With increased traffic congestion and travel costs, more and more people are opting to work from home. It’s a trend that landlords should be aware of and act upon, says the Aberdeen office of property lettings specialist Belvoir.

National statistics show that one in seven Britons now work from home. The 4.2million workers who shun the commute in favour of doing their jobs without leaving the house has gone up by 800,000 over the past 10 years.

“Ongoing technological advances that enable people and businesses to connect ‘on the go’ or from virtually any location has, for many, reduced the need to travel to an office,” said Dorian Gonsalves, commercial director of Belvoir.

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The 24% increase has also been boosted by women seeking to find flexible work arrangements to fit around childcare.

“As employers offer greater flexibility surrounding work hours and location, a growing number of employees are taking advantage and working from a dedicated space at home. An increasing number of tenants now have a home office high on their list of criteria and landlords should be responding to this,” added Dorian.

Government legislation has also been reviewed this year to reflect the growing trend of small businesses run from private rented properties.

Any private rented property from which a business is operated is now subject to a new law under section 35 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015.

This newly defined Home Business Tenancy allows tenants to operate any business that can reasonably be run from home, with the specific exclusion of the sale or supply of alcohol.

Lewis Stuart, who owns the Belvoir office on Rosemount Place in Aberdeen, said: “While this is a sensible development that will be welcomed by landlords, there are still many other things to consider since mortgage lenders and insurance companies may have clauses in their agreements which restrict or prohibit home working in some properties.

“The terms can often be complex and the new changes do not apply to any tenancy which existed before these provisions came into force, so to accommodate the changing and growing need for ‘home working’ by tenants, landlords should seek out early professional advice.”

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