Could I be liable or my property at risk if a family member uses my home address as the business address of their sole proprietor business?

My family member is temporarily living with me and she wants to start her

own mobile grooming business. She will not be doing any grooming at my home, only bookkeeping and scheduling. I’m concerned that if my address is listed as her business home office and she is sued or has any tax issues, etc. my home and property will be at risk.

If I sign a form, required by our city, stating that I give her approval to use

our address for her business, what risk would I have?

Thank you

Asked on March 10, 2016 under Business Law, Utah

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you will definitel expose yourself and your home to risk:
1) If she brings anyone one site to your home (customer, dog, vendor, worker, etc.) and that person is injured at your home due to some dangerous condition (e.g. a loose or splintered stair; a carpet that's curled up or torn; a loose railing; etc.), you, as homeowner, will be sued--any increase in traffic to/from your home increases risk.
2) If your homeowner's insurance is only for a home, not a home business, if there is any injury even directly attributable to her business--e.g. even if she injures herself while working at your home--your insurer may have grounds to disclaim or deny coverage, on the basis that what you disclosed for insurance (residential use only) doesn't match the actual use.
3) If anyone sues her or her business, they may assume that your property is owned, at least in part, by her, and seek to put a lien on it. While you should be able to get it removed if she's not the owner, you'd be on the backfoot, so to speak, having to take action (and possibly spend money on a lawyer) to protect your own property.
Generally, it's not a good idea to let a third party use your home address as a business address.


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