There are various laws you will need to consider before you start running a home business. Millions of businesses are operated illegally out of peoples homes, in violation of their local laws. This approach isn’t recommended. You should always try to do things legally, and consider moving if home businesses aren’t allowed where you live. You should contact your local governmental body and ask them about zoning laws in your area. Check these things out before starting your home business or you could run the risk of being shut down.
Zoning laws If you live in a residential area zoning laws could restrict what you do there in terms of business. There are good reasons for this. What if your neighbor opened his house as a shop? Zoning laws also keep rich developers from buying up neighborhood homes and turning them into businesses, increasing traffic problems and lowering property values. The laws are there to protect your neighborhood, and to stop business from interfering with people’s home lives. Ask about zoning laws in your neighborhood and consider a visit to a lawyer. Zoning laws vary greatly from place to place.
Strict Zoning Policies In many areas a strict ‘no business’ policy is enforced, if you try to start a home business without permission. You may need to make a formal application and there could be a public hearing to give other residents a chance to object. There could also deed restrictions set by the developer or homeowners’ association regarding operating a home business. Even if there are other businesses in your neighborhood, you may still need to get approval from officials and neighbors. Talk to other home business owners in your area for any advice they can give you.
Percentage Policies Some areas allow you to use only a percentage of your house for business, and are unlikely to make exceptions, to avoid residential properties from becoming completely commercial. Perhaps only 20% of your house could be used for business. This can be restrictive if you have a small house or need storage.
Restrictions by Industry It is worth checking if there’s an exception in the zoning laws for the home business you’re starting. Artists are often excluded from the laws, as well as people who give lessons, such as music teachers. Doctors and dentists are also common exceptions.
Signs, Traffic and Visitor Rules The laws in your area may have special restrictions for signs and traffic. You could be restricted from putting anything on your property considered advertising, not even a sign with the name of your business on it. Trucks bringing deliveries to your house can pose a big problem, especially if someone complains about them, and there are lots of children in your area. People like their street quiet, not constantly busy. Some laws allow only a set number of visitors per day to your business, or restrict the number that you can have at one time.
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