Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jun 19, 2018

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Before starting a home business, check your local zoning ordinance to be confident you will not be in violation of its provisions, and run the risk of penalties and possible shut down.

 Reading and Understanding Your Local Zoning Ordinance

Since zoning laws vary in each jurisdiction, look carefully at your local zoning ordinance. Some zoning ordinances restrict the type of allowable business activities in your residence zone. For instance, you might be able to offer piano lessons, but only during specified hours without any type of outside advertising. Some ordinances are vague and permit all typical home businesses. Zoning provisions might list specifically approved occupations such as law, dentistry, and photography as being acceptable home businesses. However, license fees may be imposed to generate city revenue. Other zoning ordinances prohibit all home businesses, but local officials generally overlook noncompliance with those activities such as software design, which historically does not disrupt the neighborhood.

Consider an Appeal

If your proposed home business is not allowed, but your neighbors do not object to the business activity and believe it will be permitted in the near future, consider appealing to the local zoning board. The local agency may decide to amend the restrictive zoning ordinance.