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Condo, Homeowner Associations Should Reconsider Home-Based Business Bans

5/27/1998  -  Alexandria, VA

The increasing popularity of telecommuting and of home-based businesses are reasons the Community Associations Institute cited in recommending that condominium, cooperative and homeowner associations reconsider home-based business bans. To balance the desire to preserve the residential character of a community with the reality of increased home-business activities, CAI encourages associations that regulate commercial activities to restrict only those activities that have an adverse effect on the community.

Approximately 100,000 home-based businesses are established each month and, by some estimates, as many as 40 million people work out of their homes. But many community associations are governed by covenants that restrict or ban home-based businesses. The number of conflicts between homeowners operating home-based businesses and association boards seeking to enforce covenants is increasing and needs to be addressed.

"The majority of community associations operate under covenants that have never been updated or revised, despite dramatic cultural changes that have affected how we live and work," said Marvin J. Nodiff Esq., chairman of CAI's Public Policy Committee. "The 42 million Americans who live in community associations want to have some input on this critical issue, and association boards need to respond by considering whether existing bans on home businesses should be revised or retired."

CAI recognizes and supports the rights of residential common-interest communities to regulate the nature of commercial activities, including the option to choose whether or not individual residences can be used as home-based businesses. CAI encourages associations that regulate commercial activities to restrict only those activities that the associations have reasonably determined have an adverse effect on the community and to permit childcare facilities, home office use and other home-based businesses that do not have an adverse effect. CAI opposes legislation that would supercede any covenant restrictions on home-based commercial activities.

The Community Associations Institute is a nonprofit association created in 1973 to educate and represent the nation's 205,000 community associations—condominium associations, homeowner associations and cooperatives. CAI members include homeowners, associations and related professionals and service providers.


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