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How To Start A Business On An Estate In 2022

How To Start A Business On An Estate In 2022

Get your neighbours and HOA on your side

By Zeenat Moosa Hassan

, |

How To Start A Business On An Estate In 2022

Get your neighbours and HOA on your side

By Zeenat Moosa Hassan

, |

3 min read

The pandemic has created a situation where more of us want to start our own business to continue to enjoy working from home (WFH). However, if you’re living on a residential estate, starting up your own business may be a bit more complicated a process. This is because there are often rules and regulations that you need to adhere to.

Not every business is suitable to an estate, and things like storage and customer parking need to be thought about to ensure that there’s minimal disruption to those living around you.

But it’s not impossible to create a business on a residential estate. You just need to plan and consider your neighbours. Here is what to do:

1. Know the difference between WFH and opening a business on site

‘There is a distinct difference between running a business from home and working from home,’ says Adv. Boyce Mkhize, Chief Ombudsman at the Community Schemes Ombudsman Service (CSOS). You only need HOA approval if you intend to open a business, not to work from home, so know the difference.

2. Read up on zoning

Mkhize explains that every HOA is zoned for a specific use – either residential, business or both, and this will determine whether a home business is permitted.

San Lameer on the KZN coast, for example, does not permit any business on their estate, but Ocean Tides Lifestyle Estate on the Cape’s West Coast not only has a few small online e-commerce stores, but also a printing company and a few on-site beauty services.

Mkhize advises consulting your local municipality for the township establishment conditions lodged at the Surveyor General’s office, or ask a local town planner to research the matter for you.

Better still, read the Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) if the HOA is a non-profit association registered at the Companies Office, or the Constitution of the HOA, if it is a common law association.

3. Check your title deeds

‘Your title deed can contain restrictive conditions that prevent the conducting of a business, especially in a residential sectional title property,’ say Natan Back and Jonathan White from MG Law Inc. If you are unsure, get a lawyer to check these and advise.

4. Put your case forward

Michelle Orsmond from Hammond Pole Attorneys explains that even if your estate does allow home businesses, you will still need to obtain the written consent of the Directors of the HOA. They will consider factors such as the number of clients you will receive, the impact on road usage in the estate, as well as security and potential noise nuisance, etc.

‘Think about whether the type of business you want to set up will fit in with the wider estate,’ says Nadia Hearn, owner of Get Published, a communications marketing business based at Ocean Tides.

‘I don’t have a large business with huge stock and logistics, and don’t really have any on-site visitors, so my business causes very little disruption to the estate,’ she says.

When obtaining consent, make sure that the HOA is given as much information as possible, including things like whether you will be using their address on official documentation or on a website, for example.

5. Have the basics in place

Work out what you will need to make your home business work so that you can plan and give the HOA plenty of warning.

‘You will need permission from the body corporate to have cables installed from a specific internet service provider, for example, and this can cost your business time and money,’ says Nadia.

‘You should also investigate things like battery back-up or generator capacity on your estate to secure your connection when things like power outages/load shedding occur.

6. Be considerate

Once you are set up, ensure that your business causes minimal disruption to your neighbours. ‘If you will be getting a lot of deliveries, then it is a good idea to let the courier company know not to block driveways and to adhere to speed limits,’ says Nadia.

‘If you have a team that works from your home, ensure that they are properly vetted. Get a copy of the estate rules and ask them to read these carefully and then sign them. Let the security team know that they are being given access cards and have them sign for these; include instructions for their use, access times and T&Cs,’ she suggests.

Finally, make sure that your visitors know exactly where to park, when, and for how long. ‘Consider sending a map with directions to the parking spot in advance, and manage arrival times. A beauty salon located in my estate allows only one car per appointment, with the next customer having to wait outside the estate to prevent an overflow of cars,’ says Nadia.

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