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Can I Run a Business Out of My Apartment?

can i run a business out of my apartment

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Between 2019 and 2021, the number of people working from home tripled from 5.7% to 17.9%, which totaled 27.6 million Americans. If you were one of them, then you might’ve realized how convenient it was, and dreaded returning to the office.

Well, if you’re not completely happy with your current job, then it may be an ideal time to change things around. The best-case scenario is to become your own boss by creating a company and 

One thing might be on your might though: can I run a business out of my apartment? Read on to find out.

Can I Run a Business Out of My Apartment?

This is a tricky question that won’t have a straightforward answer of “yes” or “no”. Instead, you’ll need to evaluate several factors to figure out if you can create an apartment company.

Here’s what you should check to see if you can work from home and not answer to anyone but yourself.

Local Zoning Laws

Zoning laws exist to divide and separate residential, business, and commercial areas. The goal is to look after the well-being of community members by putting limits on where businesses can and can’t operate.

Get in touch with your local municipal office or zoning department to see if there are specific regulations or permits you need to obtain in order to run a business from your apartment.

If the zoning laws prohibit you from starting your company, don’t lose hope just yet. You can request a waiver called a variance, which would exempt you from the zoning restrictions. However, it can take a lot of time and effort to get a variance; it’s often easier to relocate to a community that has laxer zoning laws.

Home-Based Business Regulations

In addition to zoning laws, you also need to clear home-based business regulations. Again, this is to ensure the local community isn’t bothered by your operations, as they have the right to good quality of life.

The regulations will vary from municipality to municipality, but they’ll include:

  • Restrictions on the number of employees
  • Minimum insurance requirements
  • Limitations on customer visits
  • Compliance with health and safety standards
  • Prohibition on certain activities that could be disruptive

It’s up to you as the business owner to do your due diligence. If you’re caught breaking any of these regulations, then you can’t plead ignorance.

Lease or HOA Agreement

It may be that you’re located in an area where the zoning laws and home-based business regulations don’t restrict you from opening up shop. However, your landlord or HOA may not want to have any businesses mixing with residential properties, so you may be out of luck.

So it’s wise to check your lease or HOA agreement and go over all the fine print. There may be specific clauses that restrict or flat-out prohibit commercial activities on the premises.

You may not be in the clear if these documents aren’t specific though. Your business can inadvertently break other rules and regulations in these contracts.

The best thing to do is to speak with your landlord or HOA to get clarification. Depending on your business, you may even get an exception if commercial activities are usually prohibited.

Should I Run a Business Out of My Apartment?

If you’ve looked at the factors above and have determined that the answer to the question, “is it legal to run a business from an apartment” is “yes”, then that’s great news. Theoretically, you can have someone like Business Anywhere assist you with business registration to get things off the ground.

However, there are some more things you should consider before running a business out of your home. 

The Nature of Your Business

The idea of having an apartment company might sound nice in theory, but think about the practicality.

For example, a craft business is ideal, as you can work solo and there aren’t many supplies, equipment, and sounds. On the other hand, if you want to run a daycare center, there won’t be much room or amenities that accommodate toddlers.

can i run a business out of my apartment
It can be much easier to run a craft business from an apartment, than a daycare or something that requires many visitors.

Potential Impact on Neighbors

On that note, even if your apartment can accommodate a home business, it may not be nice for your neighbors. If keeping up a good relationship with them is important to you, then you’ll want to reconsider things.

For instance, if your operations have the potential to be noisy, get lots of foot traffic, and take up the property’s parking spaces, then your neighbors probably won’t be very happy with you. Not only can they file complaints about you, but if you break laws or regulations, they can file lawsuits against you.

Even if your business follows everything to a ‘T’, you can still have souring relationships with those around you, which won’t make it a pleasant place to live.

Business vs Personal Spaces

Scores of entrepreneurs find it difficult to have a great work-life balance, and it can be even more challenging to maintain when you work where you live. 

To draw a line in the sand, it’s ideal to have a clear separation between your living space and your business operations. It may already be required by local regulations, and it has the added benefit of ensuring that your personal life isn’t affected by your work one.

Considering that apartments are usually pretty small, this may not be feasible.

Start Your Journey of Entrepreneurship

As you can see, there isn’t a simple answer to the question, “Can I run a business out of my apartment?”

First, you’ll need to see if your lease or HOA agreement allows it. In addition, you’ll have to clear zoning laws and home-based business regulations. Then, you need to determine if it’s practical to operate a business from your space, especially if you want to remain friendly with your neighbors.

Only after carefully thinking over things can you definitively become an entrepreneur in your community.

If you’ve determined that starting a home-based business is the best move, then let Business Anywhere help you. Sign up for our business registration services today.

About Author

Rick Mak

Rick Mak

Rick Mak is a 30-year veteran businessman, having started, bought, and/or sold more than a dozen companies. He has bachelor's degrees in International Business, Finance, and Economics, with masters in both Entrepreneurship and International Law. He has spoken at hundreds of conferences around the world during his career on entrepreneurship, international tax law, asset protection, and company structure. Business Anywhere Editorial Guidelines

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