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Starting a Home Business - What About the Neighbors?

by Jean Murray on November 13th, 2008

If you are just starting a home business, you probably have wondered “What about the neighbors? Will they get upset at my business?”  More than just having your neighbors mad at you, you may be violating two different types of regulations.  And you don’t want to find out if you are in violation by being hit with a lawsuit or fines/penalties.  Here is what I mean:

First, before you start your home business, you need to be sure your city or town is ok with it.  Localities have zoning regulations to keep all the properties in an area the same and to prevent excess traffic or noise or smell.  For example, you wouldn’t want to live next to a dog food manufacturer or have a lot of cars parked all over the neighborhood.  If you want a variance on the residential zoning for your home, you have to petition the city.  They will probably tell you to go talk to the neighbors.  If all your neighbors are ok with your business, it will be easier for you to get the variance.

Some neighborhoods also restrict the types of activity that go on.  These restrictions are called “restrictive covenants” or “Covenants, Conditions, & Restrictions” (CC&R’s).  Check to see if you signed something like this when you bought your home or rented your apartment.  If the CC&R restricts you from having a home business, you will need to get permission or risk fines and penalties or a lawsuit.

What happens if you don’t get the zoning variance?  Not only might you see fines and penalties, but you might get shut down by the city and lose not only your business but your home.

Don’t risk it.  Check out the zoning regulations and any CC&Rs that might affect your home business.

Tags: CC&Rs, , zoning restrictions

POSTED IN: Business Ideas, Laws & Regulations, Laws & Regulations, Work At Home Moms

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