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Thread: Internet auto sales/use regs

  1. #1

    Internet auto sales/use regs

    I've been looking into other cities to see if/how they treat home occupation businesses like auto internet sales. These are small usual one person from home businesses selling a few cars a year on ebay/autotrader/etc.

    Does anyone out there no of land use regulations regarding these types of businesses?

    Is it a specifc land use category or an accessory use to a a residential use?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    The muni I currently work for would classify your example as an "Auto Broker" and while he may be able to do business from home on a home occupation license we require a conditional use permit. The problem is that some states require anyone using a "dealer license" to have a place of business where they can park and display vehicles with bollards and chains, etc. In that case he may not qualify for a home occ license.

    For the initial consideration, I would ignore the "internet" component. The sale has to happen at some point and there may be ways he can run an "office-only" environment, but I'd look at your state requirements carefully and try to fit him in where it's most appropriate. At the end of the day he's an Auto Broker of some sort.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

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    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    I know of one such "broker" that had 17 cars in his yard.

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    Cyburbian JimPlans's avatar
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    This is called "curbstoning" and, in my experience, in most places is illegal. I would be surprised if Texas doesn't have consumer protection laws on the books that regulate this practice.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JimPlans View post
    This is called "curbstoning" and, in my experience, in most places is illegal. I would be surprised if Texas doesn't have consumer protection laws on the books that regulate this practice.
    I've never heard it called that. Interesting. It can get really out of hand, for sure.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

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    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    We specifically limit the number of vehicles that can be "for sale" on residential properties within a calendar year. I believe the number is 2. We figured most normal households would sell no more than that number in a calendar year.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  7. #7
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    We specifically limit the number of vehicles that can be "for sale" on residential properties within a calendar year. I believe the number is 2. We figured most normal households would sell no more than that number in a calendar year.
    If I classify them as a broker and let them have a home-occ license I don't let them display vehicles for sale at all. They can park in their driveway if they've got a buyer while it's in transit, but not display it.

    If they have an actual office location I limit display to two and storage depending on the location. It's kind of a pain.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  8. #8
    Cyburbian JimPlans's avatar
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    OK, maybe I'm being harsh when I call anyone who sells cars out of their home on the Internet a "curbstoner." Depending on the state, there could be some circumstances where someone could have a dealer's license and sell cars out of their home in some capacity.

    In Massachusetts, anyone who sells used cars (i.e. buys a car from someone else and resells it to the public) needs to have a license, even if they only sell one car a year. The license requires a bond of $25,000 to protect buyers from being ripped off. As auto dealer licenses are controlled by local government, they also have to show where they will be selling and storing vehicles, and that place has to be zoned accordingly.

    I did remember that Northampton, MA requires Internet wholesalers to sign an affidavit where they attest that they will never display or store vehicles at their office address (which could be a home address) "or anywhere else in Northampton, Massachusetts." But, of course, they're nor selling to retail customers and you wouldn't find their cars on eBay etc.

    http://www.northamptonma.gov/license...aler_Licenses/

    I assume that your municipality/state requires some kind of a license to sell motor vehicles. If the seller is licensed, they probably have to have business premises that were approved by the licensing authority. To me, it makes no sense to allow someone to operate a business out of their home if they are breaking the law by doing so, so you should think about checking with whoever licenses dealers to make sure your zoning ordinance is in line with those laws/regs.

    As for how many vehicles can be on the property at one time, you must have code that discusses how many unlicensed/abandoned vehicles one person can have on residential property. I don't see how home auto sales is any different than that.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian jswanek's avatar
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    .

    1) No signage on house, the cars, or the front yard.
    2) At least two covered parking spaces reserved for residential use only.
    3) Preferably no employees outside "the household", but what does that term mean nowadays?
    4) Would be nice to have them pay annually for a fire inspection too.

    .

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