Business licensing in London
This page is here to help give you a starting point to find out about some of the obligations that may apply to you if you decide to host Trips or Experiences on Airbnb. It’s for your information only and includes summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to official resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the law has not changed recently.*
Could I be a business? What things should I think about if I’m a business and when am I a considered a “trader"?
A trader is a person who acts for purposes relating to that person’s trade, business, craft or profession.
Examples of where a person would be seen to be a trader:
- I’m a professional cook and I make my living by organising pop-up dinners. My experiences and Trips will involve pop-up dining.
- I’m a non-professional cook with a passion for food and my local area. I provide experiences or Trips involving cooking classes and guided visits of my area and the shops and locals I love. I do this on a regular basis and this is how I make my living.
- I’m a professional part-time yoga instructor. I want to occasionally provide Trips or experiences which involve me providing yoga classes and introducing guests to some of the wonderful yogis I know.
Examples of where a person may not be seen to be a trader:
- I provide an experience or a Trip as a one-off thing, or just a handful of times a year, mainly centred around local events that I love going to (and where I know the organisers and artists). This is not something I rely on to make my living: I am a freelance graphic designer by trade.
- I’m a professional yoga instructor and I make my living by running yoga classes in various locations. In my spare time, I love to cook healthy vegetarian meals and I have a passion for sharing this way of eating with people. I want to provide experiences or Trips on an ad-hoc irregular basis. The Trips or experiences will centre around healthy vegetarian and vegan eating and organic food markets, and won’t include yoga classes.
If I’m a trader what things do I need to be aware of when dealing with consumers?
You’ll need to comply with the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. These require you to use reasonable care and skill, and to provide the services within the agreed time frame and at the agreed price, and to provide Guests with all the information they need to know to make informed decisions about your services (main characteristics of the activity, prices, special terms and conditions, etc.), in a way which is transparent and easy to understand. It’s important for you to ensure that the information you provide Guests is not misleading.
You’ll also need to comply with health and safety legislation. Further guidance can be found here.
Do any business registration or licensing obligations apply if I’m a trader?
You can operate as a self-employed trader in the UK without having to obtain a business licence, though you should always check whether specific licences are required in relation to the specific activities you would like to carry out.
What legal structure could I choose to use if I am a trader?
There are different legal structures you can use to set up your business. For example, you could choose to be a self-employed sole trader (this is the status that would apply to you if you start running your own business as an individual), or you could set up a company or partnership.
The UK Government has a useful guide on the different types of legal status you could choose.
Is there anything else I should be thinking about?
Yes. Depending on the activity you will be providing or organising, you may need to register, obtain licenses, or follow specific rules that apply to that activity. Our section on activity specific licensing requirements and rules covers some of the typical activities, but is not intended to be comprehensive. The UK Government’s Licence Finder can help you find out if you need a specific licence to carry out a specific service or activity you want to provide. You should always check the position with your local council or seek advice from a legal professional.
You should also check what tax and accounting rules apply to you, and make sure you have the right insurance cover in place to cover all the activities you will be providing.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).