Home Sweet Office Handling Work-a-Home Residents

 Ari Meisel lives in a 4,000-square foot loft in a four-family co-op building in  Soho—he also operates several green buildings, consulting and real estate businesses  from the comfort of his own unit. He has lived in this building for his entire  life, renovating the loft to accommodate his growing business. He holds  meetings and occasional gatherings there, like the speaker event he once had  with 30 guests. And in case you’re wondering, Meisel says his neighbors and the board don’t mind one bit.

 According to the 2000 Census, there were 90,580 New Yorkers, like Meisel, who  worked from home. And thanks to improved computer technology and the  ever-changing economic and work landscape, that number has certainly grown  exponentially in the interim decade. Factor in the past year, with layoffs,  downsizing and cost-cutting, and still more people are either working from home  or starting their own businesses.  

 Not Always Easy

 Although Meisel was fortunate to have a long-term relationship in his building  and the board and neighbors understood, there can be challenges between  residents, staff and management when residents want to work out of their  apartment.  

 Lynn Whiting, director of management at The Argo Corporation in Manhattan  remembers one tenant—a voice coach—who chose to run her business out of her unit. She was in compliance with all  zoning requirements, but management asked her to cease the business anyway  after receiving noise complaints from other residents.  

 “The tenants had an objection because they could hear the lessons and the piano,” says Whiting. “It’s not that it wasn’t a permitted use, it’s just that it was objectionable to other tenants so the board had to stop it.”  

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