Can an NGO open a office in residential area/flat

Dear All
I want to open a new question and will wait for your response.

Can an NGO open a office in residential area/flat.If yes what is rule/guideline?If no what are options?

With regards


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19 Responses to Can an NGO open a office in residential area/flat

  1. Joe D'Souza says:

    From experience, we have faced difficulties in running an office in a residential. it is not just the goodwill of people in the neighborhood that matters. for example, regulations of the municipal authorities does not permit use of residential space for office (business purposes). then there could be the by laws of the housing society that may not permit opening an office in the residential premises (our RWA is one such).

    Then being a state subject, laws would wary. do we have a clear understanding of the laws on this matter?

    Best wishes,

    Joe D’Souza

  2. Subhash Mittal says:

    Thanks to everyone who has contributed on this very topical matter. Though possibly diffcult to conclude, but what comes out clearly is that it is state subject and therefore matter would be different for different NGOs operating in different cities. Many of you have stated that there is nothing stopping NGOs from operating in residentiaal areas, as long as they are not undertaking commercial activities. As Viney Kapoor, stated in his cryptic but very effective manner stated ‘What Prevents’. I think that probably sums up NGOs operating from residential areas, as long as no one objects, you are OK to keep working from wherever you are. For Delhi based NGOs SNEHI provided a paper cutting of a report, which indicated that the Govt of the day was sympathetic to NGOs predicament and wanted to allow NGOs to operate from residential areas, just like guest houses. A quick look at Chapter 15 on Mixed Use of Delhi Master Plan 2021 while does not specifically mention NGO organisations per se. However the non-permissible activities as indicated in the master plan is quite instructive to understand what is not permitted.

    Non Permissible Activities: Any trade or activity involving any kind of obnoxious, hazardous, inflammable, non-compatible polluted substance or process shall not be permitted.

    Otherwise Master Plan 2021 is quite a relaxed plan allowing various activities from residential areas under Mix Use permits Banks, even retail shops, etc. are permitted. Thank you all for a very learning discussion.

  3. SNEHI -Healthy Minds says:

    FYI. Please read the file available on the following link:

    SNEHI -Healthy Minds. A Healthy India.
    B-347, Vasant Kunj Enclave, B-Block, New Delhi-110070 India

  4. Dr. Neeraj K Sinha says:

    Yes, an NGO open a office in residential area/flat. there is no specific rule regarding that. but one thing to keep in mind that you should have a proper commercial electability and water connection.

  5. Nice to see there are several responses to the query whether NGO office can be opened in a residential area.
    I am from Kerala and running an NGO. To the best of my knowledge, if you are hiring a space in a residential area for running an office (who bothers if it is an NGO or not) local people will not object unless and until you start creating nuisance or disturbing the peaceful life of the people. Noise pollution or indiscriminate visitors may be an issue.
    As some one pointed out, electricity department will ask to change the tariff. Otherwise there may not be much of a problem.
    However, if you want to construct an office building in an area demarcated for residential purpose, the Corporation/Municipality will naturally raise the question of building office space in residential area. There your intelligence has to work. Your architect will advise you to present the project plan highlighting space for dormitories which can later be converted to office space for practical reasons. But you will have to give space for living as well. This will not be a big problem as I mentioned earlier if you do not earn the wrath of the local people.

  6. CA. J. Ravichandran says:

    As rightly pointed out by others, this is a state subject. In Chennai, there is no objection from the Govt. as long as the agreement between the owner and the tenant mentions about this. However in Delhi, due to ‘Sealing’ fear, many owners do not let out space for NGOs to operate its office. Thanks for the legal position in Delhi.

  7. There is no restriction on operation of NGO from residential area provided that a no objection is produced from the owner of the house that he has no objection if the NGO operates from his residence.

  8. S.S.Shiva says:

    Such doubts may come in mega cities like Delhi, as explained by Mr. Subash Mittal. But NGOs like ours who are working in rural areas and do not have our own building have been occupying houses in residential areas only for the last many years to house our administrative or project offices. So long, we don’t create any nuisance, no other residents in the area will have any objection. Of course, we have our office amongst the people we serve. We display board also. Only thing is we have to pay commercial scale electricity tariff for our portion, as indicated by Mr. Haranadh Mehar.

    May be it is difficult to an office of NGO in a flat because of the rules and regulations usually imposed by a flat owners association. In other places, I don’t think there is any restriction in having the office of an NGO in a residential area.

  9. Pankaj Tomer says:

    Commercial use of residential property is restricted for any entity not specifically for an NGO.

    Pankaj Tomer

    • Many comments and many opinion since last few days;some good examples.
      but to avoid harassment/problems created by different agencies why not we can approach to the appropriate authority to amend the law and make a law for this subject;I do not understand why not?

      • Subhash Mittal says:

        Mr Pandey, This being a state subject, different states will need to pass such a legislation. Often these are covered by the Master Plans of the city.

  10. Sanjay Vanani says:

    Dear Mr. Pandey

    NGOs are not doing any commercial activities. Therefore use of residential property will not be any constraint.

  11. Haranadh Mehar says:

    As per my knowledge, there is no restriction to open an office in residential area. But, agreement for between house owner and tenant is necessary. At the same time, as per the rules of electricity department, NGO shall apply for electricity connection / meter under category – II.

  12. Nirman Sewa Samiti says:

    yes, ngo is not profit organisation.

    nirman sewa samiti,

  13. Subhash Mittal says:

    Mr Pandey, you have rec’d some direct responses to your question. I also feel that presently legally NGOs have not been exempted from opening offices in residential areas.

    However I would like to provide the legal framework behind the issue that you have raised. The issue raised basically falls under the State domain. Generally these would be covered under the last Master Plan. In case of Delhi, the Master Plan 2021 is in place. As per this Master Plan , professionals like doctors, CAs, architects, engineers, etc. can operate from the basements in the residential areas. However any commercial use in residential area is permitted if DDA in its original lease has allowed such change of use, for which permission may be necessary.

    In the landmark judgement of Supreme Court in RK Mittal & Others vs State of UP, it allowed upto 30% of limited space at ground floor.

  14. s.srinivasan says:

    legally it is a BIG NO, practicality possible if it possible ,and in fact most of the NGO’s operate from residential premisis

  15. Pran Nath Thussu says:

    I am not too sure if a residential property can be used to run an NGO. It can be legally objected to as it can cause disturbance to other residents. However, the official material etc.could be kept in the flat. The alternative could be to use a public place on day to day basis. I have seen many individuals doing this.



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