Does your neighbor’s business comply with NYC zoning regulations?

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2024 | New York City Real Estate Law Blog, Real Estate Disputes

Your neighborhood was quiet and serene until your next-door neighbor opened a bustling insurance office. As their agents, staff and claimants come and go, day in and day out, you wonder if something can address such disturbance at your apartment complex.

Although New York City allows residents to operate businesses from their homes, its Zoning Resolution has set some limitations. A home-based business should be 500 square feet or 25% the size of a house, whichever is smaller.

How commercial businesses and residential units interact in NYC

While most NYC residents live in apartments, many of those apartments are in mixed-use buildings with commercial businesses operating out of the same building. According to zoning limitations, businesses in such buildings should only be located on the first floor.

Other limitations include the following:

  • Offices for insurance, real estate, advertising and veterinarians are among the businesses that cannot be home-based.
  • Other disallowed businesses include pharmacies, barber shops, beauty parlors and kennels.
  • Residential buildings in a commercial district can have retail stores and other commercial tenants.
  • Residential buildings in a residence district can only house community facilities like schools, doctor’s clinics and houses of worship.

Another requirement is that a home-based business must not affect the look, character and feel of a residential area. It should also only sell products made on-site.

Seeking administrative and legal solutions

Zoning regulations aim to support and improve the development of neighborhoods throughout New York City. When zoning violations happen in residential areas, concerned parties may report them to the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB). The Zoning Board of Appeals handles disputes on DOB resolutions.

When all else fails, the next recourse is to file a lawsuit for zoning violation. For both administrative and legal processes, having an attorney will lay the solid foundation and give the proper guidance on how to put an end to your zoning problem.