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Home-Based Businesses in Community Associations



Community Associations Institute (CAI) recognizes that a residential community association may need to regulate from non-residential activities within the community in order to maintain the residential character of that community. This includes the right to regulate non-residential activities that are conducted from or within individual homes in the community when the commercial nature of the activity interferes with the residential quality or disrupts or disturbs the quiet enjoyment or quality of life of the residents.

CAI recognizes that in today's business environment, community residents increasingly desire to use their homes to operate their trade, business, or profession or to conduct “remote work" from their homes. CAI supports use of a residence for business, to practice their profession or conduct remote work activities, so long as it does not cause any adverse impact on the community or its residents or violate reasonable association rules and regulations.

CAI supports a community association's reasonable regulation of home-based businesses in a way that does not focus on the nature or type business conducted in the residence. CAI supports a community association's regulation of a home-based business based upon the current or potential impact of that business on the quality of life for residents in the community, the reasonable expectations of those who purchase homes in communities limited to residential uses; and, whether the non-residential or business use of the residence constitutes a nuisance in accordance with the community's governing documents.​

For the purposes of this policy, a home-based business does not include a home-based childcare facility. ​

For the purposes of this policy, a short-term rental is not considered a home-based business. For CAI's short-term rental public policy, visit


CAI encourages associations to adopt reasonable rules and regulations relating to use of a residence that allow for the operation of trades, businesses, occupations or professions within a home without creating a nuisance or interfering with the other residents' quiet enjoyment of their home. Such reasonable rules and regulations should be applied uniformly according to objective criteria.

CAI recommends that boards apply the following factors in adopting rules governing the use of a resident's home to operate a home-based business within a community association:

  • Home-based business use is not apparent or detectable by sight, sound, or smell from outside of the unit  or lot.

  • The home-based business use complies with applicable laws and zoning ordinances.

  • The home-based business use is fully licensed by all applicable governmental entities, where required.

  • The residence and the business activity are covered by general liability and property damage insurance.

  • The home-based business does not involve storage, construction, shipping or receiving activity visible from the Common Area or a neighboring residence.

  • The home-based business use does not impact parking, traffic or noise levels within the community.

  • The home-based business use is not inconsistent with the residential quality of the community and otherwise conforms to the governing documents.

Sample Legislative Language; Derived from Virginia Statute:

§ 55.1-1821. Home-based businesses permitted; compliance with local ordinances.

​1. ​Except to the extent that the declaration provides otherwise, no association shall prohibit any lot owner from operating a home-based business within his personal residence. The association may, however, establish (i) reasonable restrictions as to the time, place, and manner of the operation of a home-based business and (ii) reasonable restrictions as to the size, place, duration, and manner of the placement or display of any signs on the owner's lot​

Policy History

Adopted by the Board of Trustees, April 25, 1998
Adopted by the Board of Trustees, March 2011 

Modified by Government & Public Affairs Committee, October 2023