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What Is a Residential Property?

By Felicia Dye
Updated May 16, 2024
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Real property is generally divided into two categories. Commercial property refers to areas that are developed or able to be developed for business use. Residential property refers to areas that are developed or able to be developed for living. Using residential property for commercial purposes is generally prohibited.

Property is generally deemed commercial or residential by a process commonly known as zoning. Residential property does not have to contain a residence. An empty plot can be zoned as residential. This means that people are restricted from using it for non-residential purposes.

There are many types of dwellings that may be placed in a residential area. These include mobile homes, single family houses, and apartments. Condominiums and townhouses may also be placed on residential land. This does not mean that building may take place without restriction. Generally, construction on residential land is subject to many regulations.

In many places, residential property is subject to tax. This means the owner must pay the government to maintain ownership. These fees are usually charged annually and may be referred to as personal property tax or land tax. If the owner does not pay tax on his property, the government may seize it.

Residential and commercial property can be intermingled. This is often found in urban areas. Businesses and homes may be in close proximity or they may be connected. When this is the case, owners may have the power to choose how they want their property to be used. In some instances, however, a commercial property may be adjoined to property that is zoned as residential, but the owners may not have the power to change the use of their properties.

There is a wide range of home businesses. Operating such businesses in a residential area may or may not be legal. There are numerous factors that can affect whether a business will be prohibited. These include client visits, displaying of signage, and the view of heavy machinery or equipment. If these things are considered a nuisance or threaten to diminish property value, the business generally will not be allowed.

Property value refers to the amount that a property is deemed to be worth. In many instances, property value is not stable. There are many things that can cause a residential property to gain or lose value. For example, adding a residence to a residential plot generally increases its value by a significant amount. Adding aesthetic features such as fences and trees can also increase the value of a residential property.

MyLawQuestions is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon320524 — On Feb 18, 2013

Can I run an art work studio in a residential area that is sublet further to me?

By anon299006 — On Oct 23, 2012

Can you run a plastering business from a residential dwelling in a normal non industrial street.

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