In the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Many small businesses start from home and also, due to the current economic conditions, it’s more cost effective to operate a small business from home. However, property owners and residents must be aware that properties are zoned for a specific use. Owners may be contravening Municipal Regulations, by operating a business from a residential property.

All properties in municipal areas are zoned for specific uses. Properties that are zoned Residential, are for housing. Either a Dwelling House, or Dwelling Units (housing complex’s). Though, with Council Special Consent, secondary uses are allowed. For a zoning of Residential 1, the Secondary Uses could be; Places of Worship, Instruction and Assembly.

A resident of a house is allowed to practise a profession or occupation from their house; provided that such profession or occupation, excludes a; shop, industry or noxious use. There are restrictions to practicing a profession or operating business from a residential property, which are contained in sub regulation 3.11.1. These are summarised as follows:

  • Must be clearly a secondary use to residential and must not change the residential character of the house or property from the outside.
  • Must not create: noise, vibration, odour, smoke, fumes emission, or unsightly conditions.
  • Must not interfere with radio or television reception.
  • Must not employ, or partner with more than two people on the premises.
  • Must not display goods, whether in a window or otherwise. A sign not exceeding 0.08 square metre in area, may be exhibited on the property to indicate the name and profession or occupation of the resident.
  • The business may only occupy a minor part of the floor area of the buildings on the property (one third).
  • May not park or store vehicles for transportation on the premises, other than the vehicle required for the personal use of the resident in connection with the practice of their profession or occupation.
  • Must not create a volume of traffic.
  • The resident must comply with the Council’s by-law or other regulation.

If a property owner or resident would like to use the property for any purpose, other than indicated above, they would have to apply to the Council for Special Consent. Property owners and residents are encouraged to contact the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality if they are considering practicing a profession or operating a business from their home. For further details contact the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Human Settlements at:

041 506 2435