Rental Basics in 60641>Question Details

Truliajulia, Home Owner in Chicago, IL

I recently purch a 2 story home with 1 br ba kit on 2nd floor. My zoning cert lists one dwelling unit on 1st floor. Can I rent out the upstairs?

Asked by Truliajulia, Chicago, IL Thu Jul 28, 2011

Can I get the zoning cert changed? How do I do this?

Help the community by answering this question:


You have a single family residence, that's why the zoning cert states "one." If you want to rent a room on the second floor, that's probably OK. If you want to rent the second floor as an apartment, that's not going to be OK. If you want to change the zoning of your property to accommodate more units, consult a real estate attorney. It may be possible to do so, but you will have to make changes to your house to make it legal.

Attorney Ranj Mohip is a Chicago real estate attorney. The information in this answer is general information and is not intended as legal advice. Further, answering this question or otherwise contributing as a member of does not create an attorney-client relationship. Remember--consult the best real estate attorney in Chicago or in your respective area. Contact us at for more information.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 28, 2011
look at your purchase contract did you buy it as two flat or single family if you bought it as a two flat ask your lawyer why you were given the wrong certificate?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 28, 2011
You have to apply for a new Zoning Cert. Go to City Hall, 9th floor and ask the front desk person where to file for Zoning Certification. You will have to fill out the form and pay the fee. The city will send an inspector to your property to verify the two unit configuration. Things that help your case are if you have multiple gas and/or electrical meters. IF your Zoning district does not allow for a two unit building, you may have to contact a Zoning attorney and file for a Zoning change. You chould be careful about renting the unit until you figure out how to legalize it. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me. I am an architect with a great deal of experience in this area. Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 28, 2011
It will be very difficult to get a zoning change. You can risk an illegal rental, but if you get caught the fine is pretty hefty.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 28, 2011
your not getting a zoning change most likely.. and renting can only be done in a in -law fashion.. you can not have a rental contract with a illegal can have a friend contribute to household expenses- but I am not going to court with you and I am not a lawyer..look into it with a real estae lawyer.. it will cost you about $100 of their time..worth it.!
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 28, 2011
There are thousands of illegal apartments in buildings all over the city and they are rented out. There is risk of getting caught however. The odds of getting the zoning changed are about zero because of a thousand possible non conforming issues, but I would need to know more about the details.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 28, 2011
I would advice you to check with city hall to make sure that it is ok. They may require you to get some type of rental permit.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 28, 2011
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