As of 2021 It Became Easier to Have a Home-Based Business
In the COVID shutdowns of 2020, many people transitioned their business, to start running things from home. Or, having been laid off of work, many decided to start their own home based businesses.
But a lot of business owners ran into one similar problem: Many local zoning ordinances prohibited home based businesses: if you were zoned for residential, having people come to your home for business purposes, violated zoning codes and other ordinances.
COVID Brought Changes
As COVID shutdowns ended, many people liked working from home, or had established home based businesses, and weren’t anxious to go back to renting or leasing expensive office space. So in a little known law change, in 2021, the Florida legislature made it easier to run businesses out of your home.
The law essentially nullifies any city or county code or ordinance that restricts or limits operating a business from someone’s home. That means that if your zoning laws made it illegal to run a business from your home, those laws have been nullified by state law.
Law is Controversial
But the law isn’t all positive—many people are and have been concerned that allowing people to run businesses out of homes, can lead to traffic in areas where traffic isn’t wanted, or may invite “outside people” that the neighborhood may not want to be there. There is also the risk of so-called “unwanted” businesses opening in “family neighborhoods.”
Certain Restrictions Still Apply
The law only makes it easier to run a business out of your home. It doesn’t alter any other laws or regulations. So, licensing, tax laws, workers compensation laws, or professional licensures, still need to be complied with, regardless of the fact that you are working from home.
Notably, parking is still restricted: your home based business can’t have or attract any more cars or parking than would normally be there. So for high traffic businesses, the new law may have limited effect. Additionally business vehicles cannot obstruct walkways or public sidewalks.
The law also doesn’t alter laws that may affect signage; a city or county law can still prohibit you from putting a giant sign on the front of your house, or other materials promoting your business on your home.
There are practical considerations as well. So, for example, your home may not be wired to constantly record and preserve video footage, which may be required of your business. Your home may not have firewalls and other digital privacy measures, to preserve any sensitive client data being held on your home computers being used for work.
Additionally, the law does not affect homeowners associations. That means that even if the law says it’s OK to operate a home based business, you could still potentially violate your governing HOA documents by operating that business, a fact that the new law won’t save you from.
We help small and large businesses manage their corporate legal problems. Call the West Palm Beach business lawyers at The Law Offices of Larry E. Bray today.