Home-Based Businesses

The City of Rancho Santa Margarita seeks to eliminate blight, improve the appearance of business and residential areas, and create a community where all those who live, work and play can experience a sense of pride and well being. Your partnership is needed to achieve these goals. The City's Municipal Code is designed to protect the residential atmosphere of your neighborhood as well as to prevent unsafe and unsightly use of property. By reporting violations of our codes, you allow us to work together to achieve the quality of life everyone wants to enjoy in Rancho Santa Margarita.

Compliance Criteria

A business may be operated out of your home only if you comply with the following criteria:
  • All home occupations generally shall be conducted only within the enclosed area of the dwelling and shall be clearly incidental to the residential use of the structure. The business may be located in a garage, provided all off-street parking requirements for the applicable zoning district are met.
  • There shall be no exterior evidence of the conduct of a home occupation.
  • The principal character or use of the dwelling within which the home occupation is conducted shall in no way be altered (by the use of color, materials, construction, lighting, signs, sounds noises, vibrations, display of equipment, etc.) so that it may be reasonably recognized as serving a nonresidential use.
  • No motor or mechanical equipment shall be permitted other than that normally incidental to the residential use of the structure.
  • Home occupations may not generate pedestrian or vehicular traffic beyond that considered normal within the surrounding neighborhood.
  • No storage of materials and/or supplies, indoors or outdoors, shall be permitted that will be hazardous to surrounding neighbors or detrimental to the residential character of the neighborhood.
  • Wholesale and retail sales of automobiles is not permitted.
  • Dating services are not permitted.
  • Fortune telling, palm reading, psychics, and similar activities are not permitted.
  • Massage services are not permitted.
  • No more than 2 rooms in the dwelling or 20% of the residence, whichever is less, shall be employed for the use of the home occupation.
  • Electrical or mechanical equipment that creates visible or audible interference in radio or television receivers or causes fluctuations in line voltage outside of the dwelling unit shall be prohibited.
  • Home occupations may not create any smoke, odor, liquid, or solid waste other than that normally incidental to residential use of the structure.
  • There shall be no outdoor storage or display of materials or equipment maintained on the premises.
  • Required residential off-street parking shall be maintained.
  • There shall be no signs.
  • There shall be no more than 1 employee, who is not a resident of the site where the home occupation is established, working on the premises.
Reporting Complaints
Issues related to home-based businesses can be called in 24 hours a day at 949-635-1800, ext. 6703. Make an online report through the City's Community Connection.