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Can You Work from Home in a Co-op?

Guzov's Good Advice, Real Estate Legality


The combination of freelancers, entrepreneurs, and flexible working hours in the city mean that more and more people are working at home. It is more appealing for someone that is self-employed to work from the comfort of their home, instead of paying high rents for office spaces in New York. However, how can co-ops accommodate for the rise of at home workers? Can the co-op board prevent your freedom to work at home? Simply put, yes.

Every co-op enforces their house rules and any activity from your work will have to comply. Logistically, if you regularly see clients or if your work by nature is loud and a nuisance to neighbors, a co-op board will probably not permit you working in the building.

Co-ops do not allow clients of residents’ to wait in public areas of the building. Having strangers continuously walk in and out of the building will make residents feel uncomfortable. However, if you work quietly at home and abide by zoning regulations, then working at home might be permissible.

This is an important issue to consider when purchasing a new home. During the application process for a co-op it is important to be transparent with the co-op board and disclose that you work at home, especially if they ask. Nonetheless, co-ops can turn down your application for any given reason, as long as it is not discriminatory. You might find it easier to purchase a condo since the application process is less stringent and the board does not usually approve each purchaser.

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