By Jan Bergemann

Published June 28, 2013


After reading a lot of court and arbitration rulings on this matter I think the rule of thumb in regards to running a business out of a home in a community association goes like this: As long as the business doesn’t create traffic and/or noise you are ok!


Since I’m involved in community association issues in 1998 I watched many times association boards fighting owners about them running a business out of their home.


Most all governing documents of community associations contain some sort of language disallowing owners to run a business out of their home.


Normally the language used is very generic and in no way specific. That’s why often courts and arbitrators had to step in to clarify the question: What is a “BUSINESS” in the meaning of the language contained in the governing documents?


Over the years these rulings established a pattern that is nowadays always used when an attempt is being made to find a reasonable solution between associations and owners to answer the question: Is the owner’s business a business in the meaning of the governing docs?


From piano teacher to children’s day care, courts have dealt with this question. In both these cases the ruling went against the owners trying to use their homes as a business location. In the case of the piano teacher the judge claimed that neighbors were bothered by traffic and noise. The lady running the day-care center lost, according to the judge, because it created unreasonable disturbances for the neighbors.


On the other hand, realtors, computer website services and certain accounting services were on the winning side of these arguments. No traffic, no neighborhood disturbance – they are ok!


Let’s make no mistake: These provisions regarding running a business out of a home in a community association were created to protect the neighbors against unreasonable noise or traffic, not to prevent an owner from making some money by running a business with neighbors not even realizing it without looking at the annual business report on the website of the Division of Corporations!

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Jan Bergemann

Jan Bergemann is president of Cyber Citizens For Justice, Florida 's largest state-wide property owners' advocacy group. CCFJ works on legislation to help owners living in community

associations. He moved to Florida in 1995 - hoping to retire. He moved into a HOA, where the developer cheated the homeowners and used the association dues for his own purposes. End of retirement!


CCFJ was born in the year 2000, when some owners met in Tallahassee - finding out that power is only in numbers. Bergemann was a member of Governor Jeb Bush's HOA Task force in 2003/2004.


The organization has two websites to inform interested Florida homeowners and condo owners:

News Website:

Educational Website:

We think that only owners can really represent owners, since all service providers surely have a different interest! We are trying to create owner-friendly laws, but the best laws are useless without enforcement. And enforcement is totally lacking in Florida !

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