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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 Information

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 Information

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 Thanet District Council's Environmental Health Team and the Food Standards Agency website. Suitable food hygiene courses are available online. Further information on food safety for businesses can be found here

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 

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.

New Fire Safety Guidance

The Home Office recently published fully updated guidance for small accommodation businesses to help them comply with fire safety law. The new guide ‘Making your small paying guest accommodation safe from fire’ replaces the previous ‘Do you have paying guests?’ guide. The new guidance comes into effect on Sunday 1 October 2023. Read the full regulatory update on the VisitBritain Business Advice Hub and download the new Fire Risk Assessment template which aligns with the new guidance.

Further information can be found on the Health & Safety Executive website     


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 577416 or by email at   Licensing Information 

Business Rates

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

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 Thanet District Council's Business Rates information