Working from Home

Home - Based Business Information

A key objective for Knox City Council is to help provide the environment and conditions required by the private sector to generate wealth, sustainable development and employment opportunities. In doing this for home-based businesses, it must also ensure that the residential amenity and attractive living environment offered by Knox's residential areas are not compromised.

Council encourages the establishment of home-based business provided certain conditions are met. This information describes what the conditions are and when a planning permit is required to operate a home-based business.

A Home-Based Business/ Home Occupation is:

"An occupation carried on in a dwelling, or on the land around a dwelling, by a resident of the dwelling." (Knox Planning Scheme)

It can be almost any type of business which does not adversely affect neighbours and may be a full-time or a part-time activity, but it must not be a brothel or a business repairing and/or servicing motor vehicles.

Can my Business be a Home-Based Business?

You can operate your business from home without the need for a planning permit, if you comply with all the following conditions:

  1. The dwelling in which you conduct the business must be your principal place of residence.
  2. Only one employee who does not live in the dwelling may work in your business.
  3. The maximum gross floor area used in conducting the business, including the storage of any materials or goods, must not exceed 50 square metres or one-third of the gross floor area of the dwelling, whichever is the lesser.
  4. The business must not impose a load on any utility greater than normally required for domestic use.
  5. The business must not adversely affect the amenity of the neighbourhood in any way including:
    • The appearance of any building, works or materials used
    • The parking of motor vehicles
    • Transporting of materials or goods to or from the dwelling
    • The hours of operation
    • Electrical interference
    • The storage of chemicals, gasses or other hazardous materials
    • Emissions from the site.
  6. No motor vehicle may be serviced or repaired for gain.
  7. Only one commercial vehicle (a commercial goods vehicle, commercial passenger vehicle or tow truck within the meaning of the Transport Act 1983), not exceeding 2 tonnes capacity and with or without a trailer registered to a resident of the dwelling may be present at any time. The vehicle must not be fuelled or repaired on the site.
  8. No goods other than goods manufactured or serviced in the home based business may be offered for sale.
  9. Materials used or goods manufactured, serviced or repaired in the home-based business must be stored within a building.
  10. No goods manufactured, serviced or repaired may be visible from outside the site.
  11. Only one sign up to 0.2 of a square metre may be displayed without a permit.

What if I don't meet all the conditions?

A planning permit must be applied for a home-based business:
  1. To employ up to two persons who do not live in the dwelling, and/or
  2. To increase the floor area up to 100 sqm or one-third of the gross floor area of the dwelling, whichever is the lesser.

A permit must also be applied for to display a home-based business sign that is larger than 0.2 sqm.

All the other conditions listed above must be met at all times.

When considering a planning permit application, the Council will consider a number of factors including:
  • The strategic planning policies for the area
  • The effect on the amenity and character of the area
  • Whether there is a need for additional parking or loading facilities
  • Whether the site is suitable for the particular home-based business and is compatible with the use and development of surrounding properties
  • Whether there is a need for landscaping to screen any outbuildings or car parking or loading areas or any other area relating to the home based business 
  • The opinions of surrounding property owners and occupiers. (You will be asked to notify your neighbours of your intentions).

What if I don't pass these conditions or get a planning permit?

The information outlined above is contained in Clause 52.11 of the Knox Planning Scheme. The planning scheme is a law that regulates the way land can be used and developed throughout Knox in accordance with agreed community objectives. As with any law, a person who operates a home-based business in contravention of the planning scheme or a planning permit is guilty of an offence and is liable to enforcement action, fines and/or potential legal action.

Need More Help?

Council's City Development staff can:
  • Answer any questions about the planning regulations and permit processes (remember most home-based businesses won't need a permit at all), and
  • Provide advice on access to business support networks and sources of business information, training and development.
You can contact City Development:
  • At the Knox Civic Centre, 511 Burwood Highway, Wantirna South 3152
  • By email on, or by
  • Calling 9298 8000

(HOME-BASED BUSINESS IN KNOX is intended only as a guide to the home occupation provisions in the Knox Planning Scheme. It has no legal status and reference should be made to the relevant provisions of the Scheme particularly the Local Planning Policy Framework, the relevant Zone, and Clause 52.11-Home Occupation.)

Pamphlet - Working From Home[PDF 73Kb]