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Can I Run a Business out of My Home in a Residential Zoning Area?

Generally, most counties or cities are zoned such that commercial offices can only exist in certain areas, manufacturers are restricted to a different area, and the rest is reserved for residential homes. However, most of the time you can run a business out of your home as long as you comply with a few guidelines:

  • It must be a non-polluting business
  • Your home must still be used primarily for residential purposes
  • The business must not affect your neighbors in any negative way

How Can I Make Sure a Home Business Is Allowed?

There are still some cities and counties where the zoning laws are so strict that they don't allow any type of business to operate in a residential area. There are several things you can do to make sure operating your home business is not a zoning violation in your city or county:

  • Obtain a copy of your local zoning ordinances from the county or city clerk’s office. These ordinances should help explain whether you are allowed to operate a business out of your home, whether there are any limits or restrictions on the type of businesses that you can run, and whether you need a license or permit to run a home business.
  • You can also make an appointment to meet with your local zoning and planning department if you have further questions. 

So first, check your local ordinances, and only if you cannot find your answer there go to zoning official

What If My Home Business Is Not Approved by Ordinance or Zoning Officials?

You can always appeal to the city council or county board of supervisors. Try to get your neighbors' support when you go through this appeals process to show that your business is not adversely affecting anyone else. You may also be able to get an overly strict zoning ordinance amended or a zoning board decision overturned.

Can a Lawyer Help Me Determine If I Can Run a Business from Home?

An experienced real property lawyer can help you understand your cities zoning laws and how they apply to your home business. A real estate attorney can also help you appeal a zoning board decision or challenge a zoning law.

Photo of page author Gabrielle Hollingsworth

, LegalMatch Legal Writer and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 03-13-2014 11:04 AM PDT

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