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Trends have changed over the years, where more people are choosing to work remotely and more companies are allowing their staff to do so and, because of easy access to many systems online, it makes sense to create a home office, rather than commute to one's place of work every day, says Michael Bauer, managing director of property company

There is a vast difference though, between working from home and running a home-based business.  If one simply works from home, you would have a study or desk setup with no client visits or high traffic situations, like goods being delivered and collected.  In the majority of cases, if you had a home office, it would be quiet and the neighbours would not be disturbed in any way.

But if it's a business where there are people popping in an out or is a noisy industry (such as a mechanic's workshop or woodworking business, this would infringe on the neighbours' rights to quiet in their place of residence, says Bauer.

This is even more important to bear in mind if one lives in a sectional title scheme.  The prescribed rules have to be adhered to, and this is often where owners or tenants go wrong, and they can be fined or asked to move or close their businesses, says Bauer.

Prescribed Management Rule 30 within the Sectional Title Schemes Management Act Regulations says, "The body corporate must take all reasonable steps to ensure that a member or any other occupier of a section or exclusive use area does not-

  1. (a)  use the common property so as to unreasonably interfere with other persons

lawfully on the premises, in breach of section 13(1)(d) of the Act;

  1. (b)  use a section or exclusive use area so as to cause a nuisance, in breach of

section 13(1)(e) of the Act;"

Sections (c) and (f) deal with the law or by-laws and the use of areas, and occupants must adhere to the stipulated provisions and use of their particular unit as marked in the sectional plan. If they are in a residential unit then no business may be run from that unit, however small the business may be. It is only if a unit is expressly zoned as commercial and licensed as a commercial unit that a business may be run from there, says Bauer.


Submitted 26 Nov 19 / Views 536