“Ask Your Attorney” Column

Whether You Can Operate A Business From Your Home

Dear Counselor: My husband and I want to operate a mail-order-type business out of our home. We live in a residential neighborhood. Are we going to get into some type of trouble with the city?

Dear Client: Zoning laws govern the use of land, and are enforced by government authorities. The regulations on home-based businesses (such as a law office, hair salon, computer repair, or private tutoring) vary from community to community, so you always have to check on what is allowed. Some zoning ordinances absolutely prohibit all in-home businesses in residential areas, and others allow them — but require a special permit, with conditions (such as hours of operation). Usually, operating a business in a neighborhood depends upon what kind of business it is, and whether there will be delivery people, customers or employees coming to your home, parking issues, noise, hours of operation and things of that sort. There may also be private restrictions which have been recorded, apply to all homes in your subdivision, and speak to the issue of in-home businesses. So, before you go too far, check with your attorney and find out what public laws or private restrictions you need to contend with — or you might find yourself in “hot water”.

John L. Maier, Jr.
[email protected].

Sweet & Maier, S.C., Attorneys
114 Church St. Elkhorn, Wisconsin
608-291-3958 www.wisclaw.com.