Legal Considerations for Home-based Businesses in Sectional Title Schemes

Navigating the legal landscape of home-based businesses in sectional title schemes requires understanding distinctions between working from home and running a business. Prioritizing municipal by-laws over body corporate rules, formally proposing changes, and considering impacts on neighbours are vital to ensure harmonious coexistence within the community. Michelle Cohen and Marina Constas share their expert knowledge on this.

Ensuring Compliance and
Community Harmony

Distinguishing Between Working from Home and Home-Based Businesses 
Understanding the distinction between working from home and running a home-based business is crucial. Working from home typically involves remote tasks with minimal impact on the living environment, such as freelance writing or accounting. On the other hand, running a home-based business, like a hairdressing salon, requires obtaining business rights. 

Municipal By-Laws vs. Body Corporate Rules
When considering a home-based business, it’s essential to recognize that municipal by-laws take precedence over body corporate rules. For example, even if a body corporate were to allow it within the rules of an estate, a car repair business might be restricted in an area zoned exclusively for residential purposes. Before proceeding, it’s crucial to research and understand the applicable by-laws. 

Proposing Changes to the Body Corporate
To legitimize your home-based business, you may need to present a formal proposal to the managing agent and seek consideration from the body corporate. If successful, this may then result in a formal change to the body corporate rules.

Considering the Impact on Other Residents
Beyond legal considerations, it’s important to assess the potential impact of your home-based business on other residents. Factors such as noise, privacy, and safety should be considered. While quietly working on a laptop may be acceptable, a business with regular client traffic could pose challenges for neighbours. Striking a balance that respects the communal living environment is key. 

Establishing a home-based business in a sectional title scheme involves a careful examination of legal regulations, municipal by-laws, and consideration for fellow residents. By understanding the nuances and seeking proper approvals, it is possible to navigate the process effectively with a positive outcome.

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