June 28, 2013
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
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.
all governing documents of community associations contain some
sort of language disallowing owners to run a business out of
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?
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
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.
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!
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