Many small business owners have a home office.  This can be very convenient, limiting travel and expenses like rent.  When it comes to accounting, I am sure there are ways where a portion of the space is a possible expense to your business, but there are legal ramifications that you should consider.

 

First, if you are working from your apartment where you are a tenant, then you need to make sure that having a business on the premises is allowed.  Many leases do not allow you to work from home.  From the landlord’s point of view this may be due to the increase in traffic or that you may be storing goods on the premises.  Plus, you may be need services like additional cable lines that the landlord was not planning on.

 

What about if you own a condo?  This time is may be the condominium association that could have rules about a business on the premises.  But, what if your business is just online and you do not have people coming by? It may not make a difference according to your condo documents and the board. 

 

If you are a homeowner, then your concern is advertising and keeping your liability at a minimum.  If you want to place a sign outside, then you need to make sure with the city or town that you are allowed to do so.  In addition, if you have anyone visit your residence please make sure that it is safe-especially clean walkways.

 

In all of these cases, you do need to register with the town to tell them you are doing business there.  Think about buying insurance for your protection plus reviewing leases and condo documents.

Cynthia Pasciuto is an attorney, consultant, mediator and educator in Massachusetts who has taught at Bentley University, NIWH and NESA.