Repairing cars at home for cash

An employee has always undertaken ‘Govy Jobs’ (private repairs at home), however the house next door to him has new owners and they have said that they will complain if he doesn’t stop.

My employee says that he is not doing anything wrong and there is nothing they can do, I am not so sure, what do you think?
Historically local authorities tended not to get involved if an individual was doing the odd repairs at home however if these repairs are causing a nuisance and your employee is essentially operating a ‘garage’ from home then he could be prosecuted and may even be fined.

If a complaint is made then the Local Authority will usually contact your employee and may issue some form of Protection Notice to stop prevent him from continuing to repair vehicles from his residential premises.

In very similar circumstances  a Mr Anthony Cooper, in September 2016, was fined for operating an on-street garage from a residential street in Biddulph in Staffordshire and faces prison if he does it again.

Mr. Cooper pleaded guilty to breaching a Community Protection Notice issued by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council in November last year to stop him repairing, maintaining, servicing and selling vehicles on the highway at Congleton Road in the town.

Mr Cooper, who is now living in Stoke-on-Trent, did not attend Crewe magistrates court on Monday 12 September but was fined £1,100 and ordered to pay Council costs of £2,018.95 and a victim surcharge of £110 in his absence.

Magistrates also granted a five-year Criminal Behaviour Order against Mr Cooper which could see him jailed if he breaches the order.

These types of prosecutions are not only limited to operating a garage and undertaking repairs, selling vehicles can also cause a nuisance which the local authorities are now more regularly taking action.

The following may be offences under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 (Part 2):

  • Exposing vehicles for sale on a road Offence if 2 or more vehicles for sale and parked within 500 metres of each other on public road for the purposes of a business ( Section 2 of the Act refers).
  • Repairing vehicles on a road Offence to undertake vehicle works/maintenance for purposes of a business on a public road (Section 3 of the Act refers).

In order for local authorities to take action they will be required to show that he is undertaking repairs for purposes of a business. If however your employee is restoring a vehicle for his own pleasure/enjoyment then local authorities should not take action. If however he is doing repairs for payment then he is at risk of prosecution and should take care not to upset his neighbours.