How to report someone running a business from home

You may need permission or separate insurance to run a home business, and you’ll need to check if you have to pay business rates.


To run a business from your home, you may need permission from your:

  • mortgage provider or landlord
  • local planning office – eg if you’re planning on making major alterations to your home
  • local council – eg if you’re going to get lots of customers or deliveries, you want to advertise outside your home or if you need a licence to run your business


You may need insurance for your business. Home insurance may not cover your business (eg stock, computers, customers visiting your premises). You can find an authorised insurer on the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) website.

Tax allowances

You can include your business costs in your Self Assessment tax return if you’re a sole trader or part of a business partnership.

You can claim a proportion of the cost of things like council tax, heating, lighting, phone calls and broadband. You can use a flat rate to calculate your simplified allowable expenses starting from the 2013 to 2014 tax year.

You may need to pay Capital Gains Tax on the part of your property you used for your business if you sell your home.

Business rates

You may have to pay business rates on the part of your property that you use for your business.

You’ll still have to pay Council Tax on the rest of your property.

To check if you have to pay business rates, contact the VOA (or your local assessor in Scotland).

Valuation Office Agency
03000 501 501 (England)
03000 505 505 (Wales)
Find out about call charges

You may qualify for small business rate relief if your property has a rateable value of £12,000 or less.

Health and safety

You’ll need to manage health and safety as you would with any other business.

Home-based businesses drive the economy and provide financial security for their owners, but they can also cause disturbances — traffic, noise or inventory fire hazards, for example — that can have an effect on surrounding neighbors. As a result, most cities and other organizations require that home-based businesses comply with several rules, ordinances and laws. Business laws are strictly enforced by a number of entities and if you suspect, with legitimate concern, that a home business is operating illegally, you have several options for reporting the alleged violation.

Contact the state secretary’s office to report businesses operating without a license. Most states require that a business register and perform additional tasks required by law through the secretary’s office. For example, a business that operates as a corporation or limited liability company should have the appropriate documentation on file with the state’s regulatory office.

Call the state’s department of taxation if you suspect a business of illegally selling taxable goods or services. To illustrate, a business that sells crafts or other products is required to tax items sold within the state and pay into a tax account.

Call the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for businesses that evade taxes. Complete form Form 3949-A and include the name of the business, a description of the alleged violation and any additional information.

Contact the home owner’s association (HOA) for the neighborhood in which the business operates. Many HOAs have firm rules regarding the operation of businesses in the home.

Call the professional licensing board for the business’ industry. For example, an illegal accounting practice should have licensing through the state’s certified public accounting authority. Contact the board and file a report or complaint. The board can take the complaint and issue any necessary disciplinary action, if required.

If you think a business has broken the law or acted unfairly, you can report them to Trading Standards.

Trading Standards use the information you give them to investigate unfair trading and illegal business activity, like rogue traders and scams.

Trading Standards can take businesses to court or stop them operating, but they won’t help you fix your problem – for example, they can’t help you get a refund.

You can get help with your consumer problem from the Citizens Advice consumer service.

Check what you should report to Trading Standards

You should report a business to Trading Standards if they sold you something:

  • unsafe or dangerous, like an electronic appliance with faulty wiring or food past its use-by date
  • fake
  • not as described – for example, you bought a package holiday but something advertised wasn’t included
  • you didn’t want to buy – for example, they put pressure on you

You can also tell them about a business if:

they scammed you – for example, you paid for something online that you didn’t receive and you couldn’t contact the seller

they tried to stop you using your legal rights – for example, they said you can’t return faulty goods

they weren’t clear about the price or added on extra costs – for example, they advertised theatre ticket prices without booking fees

they sold products to people who looked underage without asking for ID – for example, alcohol, knives or fireworks

they didn’t carry out work properly – for example, kitchen fitters left your home in a dangerous state

Report a business to Trading Standards

To report to Trading Standards, you need to contact the Citizens Advice consumer service.

We’ll pass your report to Trading Standards and we can also give you advice about your problem. You can:

    – we’ll get back to you within 5 days

What happens after you’ve reported to Trading Standards

Trading Standards will use the information you give to decide if they’ll investigate. They’ll only contact you if they need more information.

Even if Trading Standards don’t contact you, they might use your evidence to take action against the business in the future. For example, if other people make complaints about the same business.

Get more help with your consumer problem

If a business isn’t helping you fix something that went wrong, you could:

try making a formal complaint

get help from a dispute resolution scheme

take them to court

Find out more about how to fix your consumer problem.

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There is a rented property in our road and we are positive that the tenants are running a business from the house. Now, I don’t care what people do inside their own home and I certainly wouldn’t want to prevent someone from earning a living.

However, in the beginning it was causing major traffic and parking issues in a very narrow and quiet side road. Driveways were regularly being blocked which was stressful. Several neighbours complained to the letting agent who said they had no knowledge of any business and that it would be a breach of the tenancy agreement to run one. They said they would discuss the matter with the tenants. They reported back that the tenants had strongly denied running any business. One of our neighbours also asked the tenants direct and got the same answer.

Immediately after this things improved considerably. Clients started utilising the driveway more or parking further away, although this has sparked a few complaints from neighbours at the other end of the road who were previously unaffected.

So, although tbh the situation is no longer affecting us really, it is very clear the business is going on. That does make me cross as does the fact that they may not even be paying tax. Also,I thought you needed planning consent to run a business from home and they don’t have any!

The letting agents say they can do no more and suggested maybe we go to the council. I’m tempted. Would that be a very shitty thing to do??

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My neighbour is a builder and started up a business about 18 months ago
well to cut a long story short he’s a pain in the back side he has vans and cars coming and going and loading and unloading vehicles in the mornings .
I’ve put up with it for this long but I’ve had enough i did have words but nothing seems to of changed.

Should i contact the council ?

Any advice welcome


I would have thought there was a law that says he cant but seems he can.
Poor you.I wouldnt want him next door to me .

Somebody shopped me to the council once, for running a car repair business from my front drive. Probably because I’d just done a service on my car. The first I knew of it was when a chap from the council turned up and, rather abruptly, asked who owned the three cars on the drive. He mellowed a bit when I told him that two belonged to my parents and the third to me. He then asked how long we had owned them (from new in my parents’ case).

He told me that some busybody had reported me. He also said he was having a bad morning as the same woman had complained about a chap who parked a pie van on his drive further a bit further down the road. He owned the pie factory.

If it’s driving you mad, I would have a word with the council, if I were you. You never know, they might do something.

Yes . stop being so stuck up.

Do you really think that all the builders in the UK have yards out in the country where no one can hear them get into their vans or drop a bag of tools in the boot?

It’s that builder who may have reason to complain about the neighbours

If the premises is being used for commercial purposes then it’s a matter for the council as he should have gone through some proper channels.

Here’s an official document you might like to read: (first random one I googled).

He might need planning permission as it’s changed the way a property’s used – and the immediate area (your house!). It’d be needed because the noise (of his builder activities) is different to the noise that would be generated by somebody without that business.

Yes . stop being so stuck up.

Do you really think that all the builders in the UK have yards out in the country where no one can hear them get into their vans or drop a bag of tools in the boot?

It’s that builder who may have reason to complain about the neighbours

Somebody shopped me to the council once, for running a car repair business from my front drive. Probably because I’d just done a service on my car. The first I knew of it was when a chap from the council turned up and, rather abruptly, asked who owned the three cars on the drive. He mellowed a bit when I told him that two belonged to my parents and the third to me. He then asked how long we had owned them (from new in my parents’ case).

He told me that some busybody had reported me. He also said he was having a bad morning as the same woman had complained about a chap who parked a pie van on his drive further a bit further down the road. He owned the pie factory.

If it’s driving you mad, I would have a word with the council, if I were you. You never know, they might do something.

Its not about shopping him i wouldnt do that I’d tell him I’m contacting the council about it .
I dont have an issue with the business its the being inconsiderate thats [EMAIL=”p@@ses”]p**ses[/EMAIL] me off

I do sympathise. I’ve got a semi diy mini housing development next door to me. They have been at it for nearly two years, mainly working at the weekends. We share part of the drive so, too often, I have to ask for lorries or vans to be moved just so I can get my car out.

They are nice people, but sometimes the noise and disruption really gets on my nerves.

As an Enforcement Officer if I was investigating this siuation, the first issue I would be looking at is whether or not there has been a change of use of the planning unit (i.e. the residential dweling including the curtilage) to business use. To determine whether or not there has been a change of use we would be looking at various factors including, if any materials are being stored on site, number of vehicular movements during normal working hours and number of employees visiting the site during normal working hours. This is a fairly brief list but its what we would generally look at.

I would reccommend that you keep a log of comings and goings over a 7-14 day period, making note of vehicles (registration numbers are useful) coming and going, the times of day these movements are happening, when noise it at its loudest, and the people who turn up at the site. Another consideration would be if business related materials were being delivered to the property.

With this information in hand I would then advise you to approach your Council Planning Department. If you didn’t have this information when you approach them then it is likely they will ask you to do it. Photographic evidence is always preferable, but not always possible.

I must say, based on the limited information you have provided I would say that there hasn’t been a change of use of the dwelling and it would be considered ancillary. This is just an opinion and made without the full information. You can always approach the Public Protection department of the Council if noise is the main issue.

I have a neighbour who is running a car repair business outside his home parking cars on the street and blocking driveways. I had the last saw as a 80 year old was not able to leave her house because of this person. He doesn't have a business address on his site

Would anyone be able to provide infomation on what organisation to report him to stop his business in a residental area . I have reported him to the council but he is slippary

Council environmental health team at the first instance.

Your local council would be the first port of call.

OP, you’ve been given some decent advice (“report to the council/police”) and some inaccurate advice (“it’s not illegal”). Hopefully this link will clear up any confusion

If you need further advice on this, r/legaladviceuk would be a better sub to ask.

Report it to your sweet fists of justice

Report it to your local council

Have you actually spoken with the individual in question? He might not even realise the nuisance he’s causing on your street.

Maybe try popping a letter through the door, and just be clear, honest and polite about the obstructions his business is causing and the impact it’s having on residents in the area. Get a few signatures from neighbours if you like.

If you have already tried this with no response, then council is your best bet.

I wouldn't speak with him. Normally my advice for stuff like this to have a chat first, but the guy is highly likely breaking the law and will have to pay hefty fines. The Council WILL go after him.

Better to stay anonymous in that situation.

Rates are a good deterrent!

Environmental Health at your local council (the one you pay Council Tax to) if he is making lots of noise and fumes. Also worthwhile contacting your local council planning department to see if he has planning permission for the use.

ses that can operate more/less freely from a residence, etc.). The issue isn’t that he’s running a busin

its illegal what about all the other hard working small businesses that pay rates and tax. would you rather it went in his pocket or local services ?

HMRC if you have any reason to believe he’s not paying taxes although doesn’t seem like you’re in a position to determine that based on the info provided

Running a business in a residential area/from your own home isn’t blanket prohibited? He’s being a nuisance, but he’s not just going to be shut down, and probably wouldn’t comply anyway. Your local council’s environmental health team would probably be your best bet. They would be best placed as to who to contact regarding business permissibility, too (there being issues re business rates, types of businesses that can operate more/less freely from a residence, etc.). The issue isn’t that he’s running a business, it’s that he’s causing nuisance in doing so. If you or him happen to rent from a housing association, I’d approach them instead.

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  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 4th, 2022 2:37 pm

Jan 10th, 2022 4:43 am

How to file a report on someone running an illegal home food catering service?

Since the pandemic hit a lot of people have been trying to sell goods from their homes, specifically food to the public to make ends meet. I know Ontario has relaxed the rules for certain low risk items, like breads, and most baked goods which don’t require temperature control. Cookies, muffins, cupcakes etc I understand is fair game. No certified kitchen required.

However for someone to be selling bowls of noodle soups, plates of fried rice, and platters of whatever you want to name, that’s pushing the boundaries. I wouldn’t not make a big stink about this if I didn’t haven’t an extremely unpleasant experience with one of these so-called home cooks, that delivered an order of Thai Curry to my front door, only to find that the outside of the container was coated in dog hair! When I reported it to the seller, he brushed it off and said how it was not possible, every order is inspected individually before it leaves his residence. The problem didn’t resignate from his home kitchen.

Here is what I do know about this person that’s operating this so called business from his home.

– He is married, with 2 young kids.
– He owns 2 dogs
– He operates out of a condo, not a house.

Just from the first 2 points alone would likely disqualify him from his home kitchen ever being certified. Is it impossible? I guess there is the minute chance that he has a separate hand wash station installed? It’s possible that he could have a dedicated fridge just for his side hustle? If the guy is playing by the rules, then shame on me. I don’t think he is, and if he didn’t just brush off my complaint I wouldn’t make such a big deal out of this.

Do I have a right to be pissed, and annoyed? This may have happened to other potential customers. What do you think?

If you think a business or person isn’t complying with one of the laws we enforce, you can make a complaint to us.

Read this page in:

Our role

When you buy goods or services in New Zealand you are protected by competition and consumer laws. The Commission enforces some of these laws including ones that give you rights when you borrow money or buy goods on credit.

We also enforce business competition laws and have regulatory responsibilities including for electricity lines, gas pipelines, telecommunications, dairy and airport sectors which aim to benefit consumers.

The consumer laws we enforce include:

  • Fair Trading Act which prohibits false and misleading behaviour by businesses
  • Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act which protects consumers when they borrow money or buy goods on credit
  • Commerce Act which prohibits anti-competitive mergers and behaviour.

If you have a concern about the conduct of a business or individual, you can make a complaint to us. We get thousands of complaints every year, so we investigate some complaints but not others. Our focus is to make sure New Zealand markets work well and consumers and businesses are confident when buying or selling goods and services. This means that we tend to be most interested in the issues that could cause widespread harm to New Zealanders. We do value all complaint information and keep this information in our complaints database. We use this database to identify business practices of possible concern and may refer to this to help us decide whether to investigate similar behaviour in the future. This database also helps us to decide how we can best assist businesses to understand and comply with the law.

Make a complaint

If you think a business or person is not complying with one of the laws we enforce, you can make a complaint to us.

Alternatively you can call us on 0800 943 600 or email [email protected]

COVID-19 related complaints

Disrupted travel, events and trade – the COVID-19 virus has had a significant impact on both consumers and businesses, with disruptions to travel, trading and events. The virus has many wondering what their rights and obligations are in these situations. We have produced a fact sheet that outlines some of the legal principles that apply to these situations.

There are a number of Government agencies and departments taking consumer and business complaints relating to COVID-19. To ensure that your complaint or issue is directed to the right place please check the list below:

Price increases – for any complaints relating to increased prices during COVID-19 please contact the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment using their online form.

If a trader has given you a reason for a price increase that you think is false or misleading then please fill out our complaint form.

Physical distancing requirements – if you are concerned a trader is not providing for the physical distancing requirements of alert level 2 for their customers or staff, then please contact Police 105 using their online form.

Food safety issues – if you are concerned about food safety issues at a restaurant, café or takeaway shop open during alert level 2 then please contact your local Council. You can find a list of contact numbers here.

Complaint process

If you contact us to complain about a business or person you believe has broken consumer and/or competition law, we then consider your complaint according to our enforcement criteria.

Your privacy

We understand you may be concerned about what we do with the information you provide. We take steps to protect your information and we do not contact the business involved while we assess your complaint.

If we do decide to investigate your complaint we will contact you and ask if you are happy for us to disclose your identity, and/or details about your complaint to the business.

As an Independent Crown Entity, the Commission is also subject to the Official Information Act and we sometimes get requests for copies of complaints from businesses, members of public and the media. When this happens we take care to redact and anonymise the complaint information to ensure your identity is protected.

Requesting confidentiality

You may feel that informing the Commission about possible wrong doing might put your position at risk. We value information from confidential informants and have a policy of protecting people’s identity when requested. For example we may consider treating you as a confidential informant if you are an employee or business partner of the person or organisation you want to report.

If you are concerned about the need to protect your identity, please raise it with us when you make your report.

Reporting cartel conduct

Cartel conduct is hard to detect because it is often conducted in secret. Therefore, obtaining information from those involved in a cartel, or who are aware of one, is one important tool to help us detect cartels.

There are three ways you can report information about cartels to the Commission:

1. applying for leniency and immunity

2. making a general report

3. using our anonymous whistleblowing tool.

Make a complaint about the Commerce Commission

If you have concerns about the way the Commission has handled an investigation or matter, you can make a complaint to us.

Who else can help?

There are other organisations that may be able to assist you in resolving your issue.

Consumer Protection

The Consumer Protection website has information on what to know and do before, during and after purchasing a product or service.

If you have any consumer questions or enquiries, you can phone the Consumer Protection helpline on 0508 426 678.

Getting your money back

Sometimes following an investigation we are able to achieve financial redress for affected consumers, however we are not a dispute resolution service. You may need to take your own action if you want your individual issue to be resolved, such as getting your money back.

Financial products and services

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) is the primary regulator of conduct in relation to financial products and services (excluding credit contracts).

For concerns about misleading or deceptive conduct in relation to financial products or services please contact the FMA.

The Banking Ombudsman can look into most types of banking-related complaints and provide information on banking related matters,

Legal advice

While your concerns are important to us and may help us stop illegal behaviour and prevent it from happening again, we are unable to provide legal advice to individuals. You may be able to obtain free legal advice from a community law centre or a lawyer.

Budget advice

To find a budget advice service near you, go to the National Building Financial Capability Charitable Trust website.

You can also contact MoneyTalks, a free, confidential and non-judgemental helpline on 0800 345 123 or visit

Understanding your rights and responsibilities

For free advice to know and understand your consumer rights and obligations and how to use this information to get the best outcomes contact a Citizens Advice Bureau near you.

Find out how to file a complaint against a business in Ontario.

How to report someone running a business from home

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How you’re protected

Whether you’re buying an appliance, signing up for a gym membership, shopping online, or renovating your home, your transaction is likely covered by a consumer protection law.

The types of consumer complaints we can assist you with

We encourage you to file a complaint with us if you think your consumer rights have been violated to help the government enforce these laws.

Here are some of the types of consumer complaints the law covers:

The types of consumer complaints we cannot assist you with

We may not be able to help if your complaint:

  • Is based on events that occurred more than two years ago
  • Is about a business-to-business transaction
  • Focuses on the quality of a good or service beyond the basic guarantees in consumer protection legislation
  • Is seeking a form of damages or compensation other than a refund of monies already paid or the cancellation of an agreement as provided under consumer protection legislation

If your complaint is not covered by the consumer protection laws we enforce, we will do our best to help you find an organization or government office that can assist you.

Here is who to contact for help if your complaint relates to:

How to file a complaint

Here are the steps you should take to file a complaint with the ministry:

Step 1: inform the business of your complaint

You should advise the business of your complaint by letter, email, or by phone before filing a complaint with us. We recommend writing to the business before you file a complaint with us.

Make sure your letter or email includes:

  • the name of the business
  • how your rights were violated
  • if you’ve reached out to the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services

If you advise the business by phone, make sure to note the date and details of the conversation.

In some cases, you can also include one of the province’s consumer complaint notices to help get a response from certain businesses. There are complaint notices regarding:

If the business does not resolve your complaint after the business receives your letter, email, or phone call, you can file a complaint with us.

Step 2: submit a complaint to us

There is no cost involved.

When submitting a complaint online, you will also be asked to provide supporting documents. These include:

  • A copy of the letter you wrote to the business about your complaint and any response they have sent back to you
  • Your contract or any other related agreements (if applicable)
  • Copies of invoices, records of payments made and any other letters, documents and e-mails
  • Logs of calls from a collection agency (if applicable), consumer reports or any documentation relating to the original debt relevant to your complaint

Submit your complaint on paper or by email. If you require an alternate format, please contact us.

In order to file your complaint in paper or by email, please use this PDF version of the complaint form.

Send your completed form with copies of any supporting documents by mail or email to:

Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
Consumer Services Operations Division
PO Box 450
Toronto, ON M7A 2J6

Courier packages should be delivered by Canada Post or Purolator.

Step 3: after you submit your complaint

We will contact you by email, mail or phone within 15 business days.

Complaints will be examined on a case-by-case basis in order to determine what action, if any, should be taken. The ministry’s involvement may take the form of:

Consumers often ask us how they can check if the business or trader they are dealing with is legitimate or genuine.

Not all traders are genuine

Some consumers assume that all traders are legitimate because they are approved and monitored by the government, but this is not true. While there are rules and regulations about setting up a business or company in Australia, authorisation to operate does not guarantee honesty. Some traders may even pretend to have authorisations or licences that they do not have.

Business cards, registration numbers or other forms of identification do not necessarily prove that a business or trader is legitimate.

If you are in any doubt about the credentials of a business or trader that you are dealing with, do some research and verify any information they provide. If you are not satisfied it is better to deal with someone else.

Check if the company or business is registered

Companies, businesses and other traders must be registered before they can operate legally in Australia. While having the correct registrations doesn’t guarantee that the company or business is totally genuine, it is a good start.


All Australian companies must be registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Companies registered under the Corporations Act 2001 can conduct business throughout Australia without needing to register in individual state and territory jurisdictions.

The ASIC website has several registers that you can search for free, such as the Organisations and Business Names register, which indexes Australian corporate and registered business names. It also includes some incorporated associations.


If the business is not a company (such as a sole trader, a joint venture or a partnership), it will need to be registered in each state and territory where it operates.

Search the Organisations and Business Names register on the ASIC website or the Australian Government ABN Lookup website.

Check if the trader has a permit or licence

Many companies, businesses, tradespeople and professional service providers need some sort of additional registration or licence before they can operate their business. These licensing systems help industries maintain professional standards and encourage consumer confidence.

You may wish to verify any information the trader gives you about their licences.

Check if the trader has any memberships

Many industries are represented by professional or trade associations. Membership of these types of associations is generally voluntary.

Ask the trader you are dealing with if they belong to an association. If they claim that they do, ask them for the membership or licence number. Contact the industry association yourself and verify the information the trader gives you.

Seek a referral

If you have doubts about a business or trader, don’t deal with them. Ask your family, friends, or neighbours if they can recommend a person or business. You could also contact an industry body or association for a referral. Often the industry associations will have a list of members on their websites.