Are you a professional running a home office? If yes, you need to be aware of certain aspects. There are some liberties as well as restrictions with respect to running any commercial activities from residential premises.
At times, many professionals are not aware of their rights of using home offices and they live in a state of perplexity, apprehensive and sometimes guilt that they are doing something wrong in the eyes of the law. They are also harassed by the authorities and become a subject of false complaints as well.
Out and out, it is not negative. In fact, the law allows professionals such as doctors, lawyers, chartered accountants, cost accountants, company secretaries, authors/writers, media professionals, engineers and architects to operate from home based offices and there is nothing illegal in doing so.
Even for that matter, property consultants can also operate from home but only in pursuance of specific guidelines. As per the verdict given by the Court in the Association of Property Consultants vs. Delhi Development Authority, (2004) 113 DLT 161, real estate consultants can use their home for their professional activities, however, the area of the office should be within 25% of the total area of the property or 50 sq mtrs, whichever is less.
Management professionals who hold an MBA (Masters in Business Administration) from institutions recognized by AICTE, UGC and other government universities are also allowed to work from home based offices. Even an MBA professional from an institute having membership of Delhi Management Association is also entitled for work from home.
It is not that the above-mentioned professionals can use their homes for office work without any restrictions. There are of course specific guidelines to be followed. For instance, in a group housing society or a residential plot with multiple residential units, one can establish a home office on an area covering maximum 50% of his or her home. There is no restriction with respect to the floor and it can be done on any floor. The same sets of conditions apply on a single-unit residential property as well.
However, people who are performing other commercial activities from residential properties have to avoid doing so. They can be penalized by the local authorities anytime and there is no reason why they continue operating their business from plots and zones demarcated only for residential use. This kind of zoning is always defined under the Master Plan and you can get a copy of it from the local property registrar office or you can also source it from professionals like architects, engineers and real estate consultants.
Also, you need to make sure that you are not tempering with the structural framework of the property while setting-up an office and all the bye-laws have to be intact without any exception. The fire safety norms have to be followed and your professional activities must not cause any hindrance to the entrances, exits and emergency exits.
While it is permissible to operate services-based businesses as mentioned above from home, it does not give the business owner a right to not follow the norms. Therefore the other usual things such as maintaining peace in the premises remain intact.