There are three main factors that determine whether a tenant can run a business from the apartment: the language of the lease, local zoning/housing codes, and whether it causes a nuisance to neighbors from client visitors.

Lease Terms

Tenants are responsible for abiding by the terms of their lease or rental agreement and the law. Landlords are generally allowed to restrict the use of a unit to only residential purposes by including a section in the lease that explicitly prohibits any unapproved business activity.

Zoning and Building Codes

Local zoning codes and building rules may also prohibit home businesses. Often, cities will prohibit businesses from running out of a home. Many states and localities require businesses to register and obtain a license for operating. This license often requires a physical address to be registered state – if the address is not zoned for business, the license may be denied and the tenant or landlord may be fined for violating regulations. Additionally, breaking the law may also cause a tenant to violate their lease. Most leases prohibit illegal activity in the apartment, which may include unlicensed businesses and violating zoning regulations.

Noise and Foot Traffic

Even if the agreement or rules allow a home business, it may cause a nuisance to other tenants. Having lots of people visit the apartment can be disruptive and noisy – a landlord could potentially evict the tenant if it’s serious. Any agreement between a landlord and tenant to allow a home business should include a discussion of the amount of foot traffic.