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In this article, we will discuss whether you can live at your place of business and if a portion of your business is convertible into commercial property into residential in Illinois.  

Keep reading to find out more about:  

  • Living in your place of business  
  • List of prohibited home businesses in Chicago  
  • Living in your commercial space  

Can You Live at Your Place of Business in Illinois?  

Each town and city have their own ordinance and regulation, regulating whether you can live in your place of business.  

Most local ordinances permit living in your place of business if the business is operated from your home, so long as your business is not prohibited business activity.  

For example, the city of Chicago’s Municipal Code 4-6-270 defines what “home occupation” means and what type of activities are prohibited. See Municipal Codee 4-6-270 . To find out about your specific local ordinances talk to an Illinois commercial real estate attorney today.  

commercial property in Illinois

The city of Chicago Municipal Code 4-6-270, like many other municipalities, explicitly excludes the following list of businesses to be operated at home:  

“(1) any repair of motorized vehicles, including the painting or repair of automobiles, trucks, trailers, boats, and lawn equipment;  

(2) the dispatch, for compensation of any type, of any motor vehicle;  

(3) animal hospitals;  

(4) astrology, card reading, palm reading, or fortune-telling in any form;  

(5) kennels;  

(6) stables;  

(7) bird-keeping facilities;  

(8) barber shops or beauty parlors;  

(9) dancing schools;  

(10) restaurants or pop-up food establishments as defined in Section 4-8-010;  

(11) massage establishments, including massage therapy;  

(12) caterers/catering/food preparation businesses / shared kitchens as defined in Section 4-8-010;  

(13) funeral chapels or funeral homes;  

(14) crematoria;  

(15) mausoleums;  

(16) medical or dental services and/or clinics;  

(17) public places of amusement;  

(18) the sale of firearms, antique firearms as defined in Section 8-20-010, or ammunition;  

(19) a weapons dealer;  

(20) firearm training or instruction;  

(21) storage of machines or bulk materials to be utilized in the operation of construction businesses or landscaping businesses;  

(22) warehousing;  

(23) welding or machine shops; and  

(24) any activity that requires a children’s services facility license under Chapter 4-75 of Municipal Code 4-6-370 Home Occupations  

If you operate any of the above businesses in Chicago, you may not operate them out of your residential property unless you request that the municipality grants a zoning variance that approves your residence to be rezoned as a combination property allowing both business and residential use, or rezoned to only residential use. Chicago provides an action and documents needed checklist when requesting such a zoning change.  

Remember that each municipality has its own set of rules and ordinances and the above list of prohibited business activities in residential properties. Be sure to check your local ordinance to confirm whether you may reside and operate your business out of the same property.  

Can You Live in a Commercial Property in Illinois?  

You cannot live on a commercial property in Illinois. You cannot live there if your commercial property is zoned for commercial purposes only. Illinois statutory law defines “commercial real estate” to exclude any single-family dwellings, even if it’s a part of a larger condominium complex.  

If the property is zoned for commercial use, and you wish to use it for residential use, Illinois housing laws permit rezoning in certain circumstances where the rezoning would not interfere with the current aesthetic and there are similarly used properties in the surrounding area. Other factors that are considered when determining whether a rezoning of a property includes the cost to the municipality for building new roads to accommodate the rezoned property, as well as whether the rezoning would disturb the status quo of traffic in the surrounding area. For more information on commercial real estate read our article, 6 Tips for Commercial Leases.  

Keep reading to find out more about:  

  • Permits to live on a commercial property  
  • Converting commercial property into residential  


Do I Need a Permit to Live on the Commercial Property?  

No, there is no permit that would allow anyone to live on a commercial property. The only way to be allowed to live on a commercial property is if it is zoned for combination use: commercial and residential. This is uncommon but is generally seen where a municipal downtown area consists of office spaces on the first floor and residential apartments on the floors above.  

Can I Convert My Commercial Property to Residential in Illinois?  

Yes, you can request that a commercial property be rezoned to residential. However, this is generally difficult to accomplish when the surrounding structures are also zoned for commercial use.  

The cost of rezoning is a huge factor to consider when making such a decision. The cost of rezoning can include bringing the property up to the code of residential standards, permits, and hiring specialized carpenters and architects.  

Keep in mind that your municipality and county must approve rezoning proposals. Often, these proposals are denied due to the nature of the property’s surroundings, including the businesses nearby, and whether there are other similar commercial to residential conversions near.  

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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