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08 Apr 2016
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My Co-Op Said NO!

Let’s first assume that you meet all the requirements of city ordinances and zoning restrictions.  Can you run your business from your home?  The answer to this mostly depends mostly on what type of business we’re talking about, and how permissive your co-op board is.  You may have permits for a day-care center, for instance, but the board still might not allow you to run one.  The power of a Co-Op board can be far reaching.

Disruption and security are, by far, the most important factors in gaining board approval.  Are you a writer that sits alone at your desk all day?  Are you teaching a dance class in your living room?  Perhaps you’re a therapist who counsels patients in your guest room?  All of these professions present different, yet very important nuances.

Your co-op will likely discourage or ban anything that will make too much noise or may be too disruptive to your neighbors (tap dancing lessons).  The board may also frown upon the frequent guests, for example, if you are a therapist who has a new patient entering the building once every hour, six days a week.  The board also has the authority to provide restrictions, such as requiring your guests to wait in the lobby rather than your hallway, or demanding that you provide your own “waiting room” within your unit, with limited times that clients can enter, and disallowing walk-ins.

Another big issue that a board will consider involves the possibility of fire or other physical destruction. It’s unlikely that your board will approve of a plumbing business that stores hazardous or flammable chemicals, or a metal working business that requires use of a torch. Co-op residents thinking of starting a home-based business should review the rules and regulations of the condominium association prior to operating a business out of their unit.

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