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KB, Real Estate Pro in West Orange, NJ

is it legal to rent out a room in West Orange, nj?

Asked by KB, West Orange, NJ Fri Jul 30, 2010

I have a 4 bedroom split level, was thinking of renting out one room for extra income. Is this legal? do i need to get any approval from anywhere? Also what checks are recommended to be made before renting to any individual. I have never rented out before.. hence these questions

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Once you rent a "room" out in a house to a stranger, you are in effect running a boarding house. If you put a keyed lock on a bedroom door - it's not something normally done in regular residence. Some munis consider this then a rooming house.

In NJ, a regular rental requires a certificate of occupancy (CO).
Security Deposit of 1.5 month rent
Prepare a written agreement.
I suggest month to month, in case you don't like or have a problem with the roomie.

Your tenant should also have ( and you should require they do) Renters Insurance - info here:
http://www.rentlaw.com/renterinsurance.htm

The reference here contains plain english in NJ Landlord Tenant Law.

You should also look into running a credit report. No reason to get stuck with a dead beat roomie.
RentLaw.com Tenant Screening for Small Landlords is easy to use. You create a free landlord account.
Once you find a tenant, get their email address, plug it in. They get an email from rentlaw.mysmartmove.com and complete the app. You get the results with a recommendation based on their credit.

Get copy of DL and Social#. RentLaw.com also has a free credit app.

Great for Landlords and Tenants
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 30, 2010
Interesting question Kavita, in that when does a roommate become a "boarder" or "tenant"?

David gave a very comprehensive answer.
Call the town and see how they define tenant versus roommate.

In W Orange a CO is required for all new leases and sales.
You need to go to the Fire headquarters on Valley Rd and pay for the inspection ahead of time ($35 if the inspection is at least 2weeks ahead of time), and to set up the appointment.

To be in compliance - You will need to have smoke detectors on each level of the home - you will receive a form that indicates where they belong. You will also need carbon monoxide detectors within 10 feet of any bedrooms - in addtion, you need a fire extinguisher in the kitchen (no more than 10lbs) - unlike other towns, WO does not require that the extinguisher be attached to the wall.

Hope this helps
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 30, 2010
David, thanks a lot for your answer, it is very useful. Much appreciated!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 30, 2010
Always consult an attorney for legal advice, but as a matter of my personal and practicsal experience I have found that it is legal, as long as you're not operating an unauthorized rooming house and the home is owner occupied. You will want to check with West Orange's municipal offices for any special registration, certificates, and or inspections that you may need. But, typically that is not necessary. You may want to collect security deposit, the max in NJ is 1.5 mos rent. This needs to be help in a special landlord tenant account at the bank and you will need a W-9 from the tenant to open it. You can find one here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf

Here is also the rules regarding security deposits: http://www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/codes/publications/pdf_…

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 30, 2010
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