Home Occupations Regulations - What & Why

What's Happening Now?

In fall 2022, Councilmember Dan Strauss proposed permanent updates to the rules for operating home occupation businesses. SDCI assisted in the drafting of the legislation, known as Council Bill 120520. This bill was discussed and passed by the City Council on June 27, 2023, and signed by the Mayor as Ordinance 126845. It is in effect as of July 27, 2023. You can Record No: CB 120520 for more information.

The ordinance adjusts the home occupation rules to give more flexibility for people to start and conduct businesses from their home. Home occupations widely vary but the most common types are self-employed professional or administrative services, childcare, and activities such as food and beverage production, craft work, and equipment or vehicle repair. The home occupation should be secondary to the use of the home as a residence.

The SEPA Determination of Non-Significance was published on November 28, 2022. See the LUIB notice.

Project Benefits

The update to the home occupation rules now adds flexibility for home occupation businesses because it:

  • Allows customer visits without appointments
  • Allows the home occupation and outdoor activities to be visible from the exterior of a building
  • Allows outdoor activities associated with the home occupation use, while continuing to prohibit spillover impacts such as noise, odor, dust, light and glare
  • Allows more than two employees who are not residents of the home
  • Allows more daily deliveries, and up to three vehicles related to the home occupation to be at a property with a home occupation
  • Allows on-street parking and traffic activity, but continues to limit impacts generated by automotive retail sales and services-related home occupations
  • Allows a home occupation vehicle to occupy an otherwise required parking space
  • Allows one non-illuminated sign up to 5 square feet bearing the name of the business, or a similarly sized externally lit sign in multifamily and commercial zones.
  • The update still prohibits drive-in businesses as home occupations

The End Result

Businesses operating from homes have more flexibility in how they operate. This helps encourage and preserve the livelihoods of small business owners.

Construction and Inspections

Nathan Torgelson, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 2000, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 34019, Seattle, WA, 98124-4019
Phone: (206) 684-8600
Phone Alt: Violation Complaint Line: (206) 615-0808
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SDCI issues land use, construction, and trade permits, conducts construction and housing-related inspections, ensures compliance with our codes, and regulates rental rules. SDCI is committed to an antiracist workplace and to addressing racism through our work in the community.