11 – Working from home

This Information explains the requirements for a person wishing to operate a small scale business from home.

Planning requirements

A person may operate a small scale business from a residential property in most cases without development approval, providing certain conditions are met to classify it as a ‘Home occupation’.  A ‘Home occupation’ means the use of part of a dwelling by a resident for non-residential purposes if:

  • no more than 40m² of floor area of the dwelling is used for non-residential purposes;
  • the person conducting the home occupation normally uses the dwelling as their principal place of residence;
  • it does not involve employment of persons other than a resident;
  • there is no more than the occasional visitor to the site for non-residential purposes;
  • any load on a utility is no greater than for a domestic use;
  • there is no activity that causes electrical interference to other land;
  • there is, on the site, no storage of hazardous materials;
  • there is, on the site, no display of goods for sale;
  • there is, on the site, no advertising of the home occupation other than 1 sign (non-illuminated) not exceeding 0.2m² in area;
  • there is, on the site, no refuelling, servicing or repair of vehicles not owned by a resident;
  • not more than 1 commercial vehicle is on the site at any one time and no commercial vehicle on the site exceeds 2 tonnes; and
  • any vehicle used for non-residential purposes is parked on the site.

These conditions are set by the Planning Scheme and may not be varied in any way.  If the business activity meets the above criteria, then it is classified as a ‘Home-occupation’.  If the requirements above cannot be satisfied then the use will be required to be categorised into the ‘Home-based business’ classification or one of the commercial based use categories provided under Table 8.2 of the Planning Scheme.

Other approvals

There may be requirements under other legislation that apply to the Home-based business.  For example food preparation and personal services may have specific environmental health unit requirements.

Development approval will be required for any signage. However it should be noted that commercial signage which is not a name plate or an illuminated wall sign less than 2 square metres is not typically allowed in residential zones. In general, Council will only support a single sign identifying a home business with a maximum advertising display area of 2 square metres. The sign must not move, flash, reflect light or be internally lit.

Other considerations

It is recommended to first check with Council before setting up a business so that guidelines can be discussed. Council’s often receive complaints from neighbours and others about activities which cause a nuisance (noise, smoke, fumes, dust, traffic investigation, activities outside of normal working hours).