Handling Home Based Businesses Some Bylaws Updated Under Economic Pressure

 According to U.S. Small Business Administration statistics, over half of all  small businesses begun in the last decade have been home-based—that's more than 24 million in real numbers—with a new home-based business being launched every 11 seconds.  

 Those numbers should not be lost on condo and HOA board members, some of whom  still preside over buildings with express prohibitions against home-based  businesses. But should associations move to amend their governing guidelines,  often requiring an amendment to the property’s declaration or master deed, to eliminate these provisions? Yes, say experts in  both business and legal fields.  

 Efficiency & Sustained Growth

 “There’s been so much outsourcing,” notes Phil Holland, Los Angeles-based business consultant and author of The  Entrepreneur’s Guide who attributes the rate of home-based business growth to two main  factors: “One, the adverse economic climate, which is propelling people to start  home-based businesses, and two; the tools are now available to help them. Firms  are learning that in some cases it's much more efficient and less costly to  outsource work than it is to have employees in offices, so that has kind of  propelled the home-based business thing. And for people who are unemployed and  haven’t found work, starting a home-based business may not be a bad alternative.”  

 Yet unlike their non-condo-dwelling counterparts, many unit owners run up  against rules forbidding home-based businesses in their buildings and HOAs.  Balancing association administrators' concerns about traffic, noise, and zoning  restrictions with residents' need for income and autonomy in their own homes is  tough—but it must be addressed, particularly in such tenuous economic times.  

 Out-of-Date Bans vs. Reality?

 Despite dramatic changes in telecommuting technology, many associations, still  governed by bylaws drafted decades ago, prohibit home-based business activity  of any kind.  


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  • My wife and I own one unit in a two-unit condo. The other unit is running a daycare despite of our complain and sometimes takes more kids than the permit limit. We report the issue to the town but it seems no body cares.