Zoning problems when running a business from home

Moving a small business home may be a good way to reduce overhead expenses. Most cities restrict homes to, well, use as homes, with narrow exceptions. Would your small business fit in the exceptions?

Generally, if a city employee could not tell your business was in your home, it is fine. If you have a truck, employees, or customers who would come to your house, you may have a zoning problem. Check your city’s zoning ordinance for regulation of “home occupations”. This may be in its own section, in the restrictions applicable to your zoning district, or even in the definition section.

At first glance, it may look impossible to meet the zoning restrictions, and still run the business out of your home. However, many small businesses can be modified to be done partially or entirely from home. Be imaginative. Perhaps you can get your deliveries at a storage locker, or meet your customers at their homes. Space can be rented elsewhere for large or noisy equipment, while keeping a business office and handling paperwork at home. Through careful design, a home business can meet the zoning ordinance and also be successful.

Categories: Legal Blog

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