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Operating an Office From Your Apartment

Apr 12, 2022

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Late in 2021, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that about 40% of the population had taken up working from home. Although COVID restrictions have eased since then, lots of people are still spending at least a few days working from home. If you’ve been enjoying time away from the office and are thinking about launching a business of your own, running it from your apartment can be both convenient and cost-effective. But, before you go ordering your business cards, you need to make sure it’s legal to operate an office from your apartment.

Can You Run a Business From an Apartment?

Australia is a nation that runs on the strength of its small businesses. About 1.5 million people around the country are registered as sole traders. If you’re thinking about joining their ranks, working out of your apartment is a good way to cut costs and take advantage of flexible work via the internet.

In Brisbane, it’s generally legal to run a small office-based business from your own property. Some small businesses will require planning approval to be run from an apartment. Approval is usually only needed for the types of businesses with the potential to disturb your neighbours, create noise or increase traffic in the building. If you’re a sole trader or partnership doing office work, you probably won’t need to seek permission to run your business from an apartment. If you’re unsure, you can contact Brisbane City Council and speak to a Town Planner for advice.

Can My Tenants Run a Business From Their Apartment?

If you’re a property investor who owns an apartment, the same planning rules apply to your tenants as they would to you. However, as the landlord, you have a say over whether tenants are allowed to operate a business from the property. In fact, it’s common for rental agreements to prohibit tenants from running small businesses.

Apartments that are used to run small businesses might be unharmed by the activity. But, if your tenant hires other employees or regularly has clients visiting the property, it could disturb the neighbours and increase wear and tear on the apartment. With work from home arrangements on the rise, it might be a good idea to consider allowing tenants to run their business as long as they seek your permission first. Asking tenants to apply with you gives you notice of what their business does, how busy it might be and whether it will create problems for the neighbours or body corporate.

Claiming Tax Deductions on Rent and Mortgage Expenses

Home-based business owners in Australia may be entitled to claim tax deductions on some of their expenses. Tax-deductible expenses for small businesses include:

  • Rent, interest on your mortgage, council rates, taxes and home insurance
  • Operating expenses such as electricity, internet, phones, furnishings and the depreciation of equipment
  • Travel between home and other locations for business purposes

Not only does running a business from your apartment save you money, you may be able to claim rent and mortgage interest repayments as tax deductions. That’s a huge bonus for small businesses and it makes home-based offices an enticing offer for many.

Speak to Your Body Corporate or Landlord

While it’s usually legal to run a small business from an apartment in Brisbane, you should always speak to your body corporate or landlord first. Many landlords and body corporates allow small businesses as long as the occupant lodges an application. That application will usually include the details of the business and whether it will generate any traffic in the building.

When applying with your body corporate to run a small business, remember that their first priority is keeping the building safe, secure and in good repair for the benefit of all tenants. Businesses that generate lots of foot traffic or disturb neighbours aren’t in the best interest of tenants, and you may be asked to find somewhere else to work.

Thinking About Selling or Investing in an Apartment? Amazing Apartments are Brisbane’s Experts!

If you’re ready to launch your own business and work from home, apartment living could be the solution you’re after! Brisbane’s inner suburbs play host to some of the city’s most spectacular real estate. Whether you’re investing, selling or buying for yourself, choosing an apartment means you’ll have access to tonnes of lifestyle opportunities that you can’t get anywhere else. To get into your new apartment sooner, get in touch with the Amazing Apartments team today! We’re dedicated apartment specialists. We take the time to get to know every one of our buyers and sellers so that we can match you to an apartment that suits your personal and business needs! Speak to us today about our properties or for more information on our process.