General Area in 08820>Question Details

Sak, Both Buyer and Seller in 08830

A question about zoning restrictions

Asked by Sak, 08830 Tue Feb 3, 2009

Let’s say I buy a single family house for investment and I would like to do one of following things…

1. Add one more kitchen upstairs and rent upper and lower floors to two different families
2. Don’t add kitchen but just rent out the house to 3-4 bachelors to share.

What particular zoning restrictions should I be looking out for before doing this ? and are there any such restrictions in zip codes 08820 and 08830 which will stop me from doing it ?

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Answers

28
In addition to being a realtor I am on the Edison Zoning Board and take issue at the previous post telling you to ask questions anonymously. (with, I assume, the intent of trying to do it without approvals). There ARE restrictions in Edison for adding a second kitchen. No matter what you do they WILL ask an address since each zone has it's own restrictions.

However, there will also be plumbing/electrical permits, and sometimes fire inspections, needed to make sure all the work is done to code. This benefits YOU as the owner to make sure you don't lose your investment to fire/flood etc.

Go to the link below for more information on what needs a permit. Take note that the page clearly states "State law mandates that the Construction Official issue a fine to any person who performs work without a permit if the construction is of a nature which requires a permit."


http://www.edisonnj.govoffice3.com/index.asp?Type=B_LIST&…


My best advice is to contact the Zoning Officer by visiting the municipal building to get the proper answers and proper applications. He can also guide you in how to present the applications properly and let you know if the work you intend to do is allowed in a particular zone. You can contact the zoning officer (SAteven Lombardi) at the following email address : slombardi@edisonnj.org OR call at 732-246-7256.

Better to do it correctly right from the beginning to protect yourself, your property and your pocketbook.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
SAK:
Forgot to answer this question for you. You asked previously:

"William,

Let's keep investment aside to keep things simple. what about simple buyer buying simple single family house. is there anybody or any service there to certify to him that the house he is buying is "legal " ? Why can't his agent or his home inspector do that job of verifying "legality" ? in fact i am surprised that it's not already a part of their responsibility by default !"

If you are buying a single family home, rarely do you need to verify it's a legal use. There is a deed and title search done before closing to verify that the sellers are legal owners and that the use is consistant with the sale. Of course, your agent can go to the town on your behalf and verify it's a"legal" use, but that would more likely be necessary if it's a two family in a predominantly single family area. We already discussed the issue of whether improvements had permits or not, and how to go about verifying that. Again, legal USE and legal "improvements" are two separate issues.

William, in a previous post explained the situation quite well regarding why neither Realtors nor Inspectors can verify legality, and why it's up to you and the people you are contracted with to verify any questions you have. Worth re-reading.

Realtors work most often in the background to coordinate a smooth closing, giving gentle reminders to their clients about deadlines, guide you through the next step in the process, but usually do not make formal contact with the mortgage reps, title company, appraisers, underwriters, utility companies etc. We are facilitators not attorneys.

In any case, I wish you good luck in what ever you chose to do, and hope this exchange has been helpful and inciteful.

:::end of this blog:::
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 6, 2009
Sak: A house inspector inspects the condition of the house. He reports to you what he sees. If you want to hire him to go down to city hall and check the records, you might get him to do so. It's not part of the usual duty. The real estate agent represents the seller or buyer. He or she is not selling the property from his or her own stock. . Realtors rarely know the past history of a property and are not holding themselves out as competent house inspectors in the first place. That's why you hire a home inspector. The average home inspector spends only a couple of hours at the property. They look for things such as a bad roof, noticeable shifts in the walls or foundations, and hazardous conditions, such as improper EXPOSED wiring.

You are primarily dealing with the seller and have a contract with whoever that may be. If they take advantage of you, that's not nice but the deal is really between you and them. The house inspector tries to ferret out problems but cannot go into the walls or do structural calculations. If this is the problem and avoiding permits and inspections caused it, it's more than you can expect from an inspector to determine.

The Realtor is responsible for finding a property for the buyer and a buyer for the seller. He or she does not have an engineering license or even an inspector's license.

If you deal with a Realtor with much experience, they may be more helpful than someone who has none but, just as you hire your own inspector and your own title search company, (even if with the Realtor's suggestion) they are elements of the 36-member (or more) team of persons who will be part of the process of the sale. They are usually people that have a contract with you, not with your realtor and therefore you must manage them to get all the information that you need. In most situations, the property is ok, with the owners having gotten the proper permits, just as you must do if you modify the property in any way.

Remember also that most municipalities have a housing inspection that either municipal workers or designated firms perform. Even these guys can miss that work that required permits was done with out them and indeed may be substandard.

As I pointed out, as an investor, you are in a commercial situation. The "due diligence" is the buyer's responsibility. It does not fall on anyone else and you should know the capacity and expertise that those you hire to assist in that task possess.

Sorry to be so opinionated but I make sure that I personally do not endorse any home or it's condition. I just show them to clients and recommend that they get professional assistance. That's also why I recommend to my clients that an attorney be consulted. Have I seen a lot of contracts and seen a lot of subsequent negotiations? Sure. On the other hand, I didn't go to law school and am not licensed to practice.

As an investor, I recommend that you build a resource bank of those you will need to complete any project successfully and profitably.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Finally I agree with you, purchase a legal two family and get on with it.

You may not have stated outright that anyone should evade the law but your suggestion that "If I were you, I would visit the town anonymously and speak to the zoning department about the mother/daughter requirements. Some towns have relatively easy to follow rules, others fight you every step of the way. Just don't reveal the property address in question when you go down, just say you are thinking of buying in Edison but you might need to create a kitchenette for mom. See what they say. ", certainly from my point of view infers just that. Why else would you recommend not giving an address??

I stand by my comment that " If somone is really looking to put in a kitchen to make a true mother/daughter (or do any other kind of improvements) and has nothing to hide, then following the proper channels to get the approvals should not be such a scary thing."


finally, your comment "I firmly believe it takes a certain mentality to go into low level government service", is still offensive. You have no idea what type or level of education I have. To make a statement like that is a childish way of replying to a legitimate question from the public. Answer the questions and refrain commentary on the people who take time to post here. You'll be taken a lot more seriously when you do so.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
OK Sak,

This will be my last post on the subject and I have a lot to say. Some I know is repetition, but worth repeating nonetheless

There is a difference between getting zoning permits and building permits althought they sometimes overlap eachother. Zoning refers to standards and limitations on USE of a property, setbacks when building a home or an addition, minimum lot sizes etc. Building permits are issued to allow construction, allow changes in electrical/plumbing/framing etc., and are subject to different guidelines (but as I said they do overlap with zoning regulations at times especially if a variance is required)

You don't have to be an expert in zoning/building nor is it totally on the buyer to do his/her due diligence, but getting the info from the proverbial "horses mouth" is always my preference rather than through a third party, even if it's your Realtor. If the owner says they put on an addition, re-roofed, added new windows, remodeled a bath, finished a basement etc., then you can assume they might have needed permits for at least part of this to be done. You can ask the listing Realtor OR your Realtor to find out if there were permits needed or issued. Some homeowners are organized and keep them, some got them but threw them away and some did not get permits. You and/or your Realtor can then go to the zoning office, ask if permits were needed and if so can get the copies. It is totally on the seller to address any situation if they did not acquire the necessary permits and up to you and your attorney to decide how to proceed if there is a problem.

Marc is from Succasunna NOT Edison. Maybe his town is filled with people who won't answer questions, cannot get a job in the "real world" or are corrupt, but our zoning officer has 30 years experience in his post and is as competent, knowledgable AND fair as they come.

Marc is in essence telling you to skirt the legal requirements which could in the long run cost you MORE time and money if you do work without proper approvals.

Marc calls me a government bureaucrat AND insinuated that I am somehow beholden to "friends in high places" or that our board is outright corrupt. Zoning boards cannot "arbitrarily" deny a request for a variance... there are legal standards we need to adhere to when making a decision, NOR can the zoning officer deny your application just because he feels like it. If it meets the standards its a go! PERIOD !!! (you still may need to get building permits)

I am a VOLUNTEER who does not get paid for my service. I have no agenda other than to keep our town continuing to grow/change according to the regulations both local, state and federal. I have been involved in our town for a long time (about 15 years in one capacity or another and ALWAYS volunteer) because I didn't like what I was saw happening and rather than complain about it, wanted to make a difference. I'd really like to know if Marc does anything in his town to make things change? I bet not !! Just one of those who complain and sling accusations but do nothing to change anything.

His statement that "The idea is to charge money, issue permits, charge money, inspect and fail, charge more money, inspect and fail, charge more money, inspect and pass, ", is a bunch of garbage and may well be how it's done is his town. Sure people fail inspections (I had work done in my house and the plumbing failed...we fixed it ( NO EXTRA CHARGE from the township), and they came and reinspected and issued the final approval. The purpose of BUILDING permits is to make sure work is done to specific codes and standards, and I repeat, that ZONING permits are to maintain the integrity of the town according to the Master Plan and zoning regulations. YES it make money for the town, but a small price to pay when you consider the consequences.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Sak,

Now to answer your question. I recommend you doing the due diligence yourself. If you have ANY concerns about the conformity of the house you intend to buy, go to the zoning office. They can check the approved uses, check and pull permits (if any), see if there were previous variances granted if there is an existinga non-conformance, and let you know if the homeowner did everything through proper channels/approvals. Some things can be fixed, some need to be inspected etc. but it's better, if there's a problem, to let your attorney help you decide how you want to proceed.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Having seen first hand the lousy and sometimes downright dangerous workmanship that do- it -your selfers do, it's imperative that proper permits are applied for and the work inspected . If somone is really looking to put in a kitchen to make a true mother/daughter (or do any other kind of improvements) and has nothing to hide, then following the proper channels to get the approvals should not be such a scary thing.

Zoning regulations have been in place for a long time and were instituted to protect the municipality they regulate from unauthorized uses in certain areas. They are not there to start an "inquisition" but to protect a community from reckless building and changing the integrity of each given zone.

A single family zone is just that. Imagine if everyone was of the opinion that "it's my house I'll do what I want to it" and converted even 10 % of the single family homes into true 2 families? The impact on utilities, parking, municipal services, traffic, etc., comes into play whether you like it or not. Not to mention if there are kids involved, the house is zoned for 1 family and school property taxes are calculated on that number. So schools get even more overcrowded and students get even less services.

As far as us being mindless bureaucrats, I frankly find that offensive. MLUL (municipal land use law), master plans, and zoning regulations are there to protect the integrity of any given area in a municipality. As a board member, if a variance is requested we have very stringent LAWS as to proof of need, to review when each case is presented to us. We go to classes on Land Use. We weigh each case on its merits/detriments and make decisions (and sometimes place restrictions) based on the evidence presented. We are all dedicated to preserving our community in a volunteer position that often requires a lot of research before we even hear a case.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Sak: I see you shop around in other questions. My answer to another got favorable reviews and you had weighed in on that one as well. I really want to end this thread, as I believe we've beaten the topic to death. However, there is just one thing that I feel needs a response.

Titles are very nice things. For example, POO-BAH, in the operetta "The Mikado," filled in the blank very nicely by being "Lord High Everything Else"!

I have both an Associate Broker's license and a Salespersons license (different states.) Nevertheless, I would defer to Mary in matters of zoning, especially in Edison, where she has more expertise and certainly more experience than almost anyone else you might be able to find. I believe that there are too many fancy titles generated in the real estate community. You may see various initials after folk’s names. I have gotten a couple of Emails urging me to register (at a cost) for a new designation for myself. Talk about West African financial schemes!

My advice is not to judge a book by its cover or practitioners by their fancy initials. Top Docs, for instance stand out from other Board certified doctors because of their results, not because they can put FACS behind their name.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 6, 2009
Hi Sak,

Just make sure you have a Realtor with long experience and intimate knowledge of zoning, land uses, and values. I would be ideal but I do not work Middlesex.

The best way to narrow it down a bit is to work with a broker or broker/associate, rather than just a sales agent. At least someone who passed the broker test can be counted on to have at least a modicum of knowledge and experience. The typical agent is not qualified to assist you with a purchase that could involve a lot of zoning issues. You need someone with multi-disciplinary experience. A builder/Realtor would be an excellent choice.

Ask potential candidates this question: What is a legal non-conforming use and how does it affect my home selection? If they answer you with a blank stare or babble about going to the town, move on to another agent.

Good luck!

-Marc

Marc Paolella
Relocation Director
Member, Worldwide ERC
Licensed Realtor NJ
Licensed Appraiser NJ & NY
Century 21 Joe Tekula Realtors
Agent of the Year 2008
Owner: Sands Appraisal Service, Inc.
Phone (direct): (973) 584-4235
web: http://www.marcpaolella.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Conclusion:

I will be hiring 36-member (or more) team of persons ( "professionals") who will be part of the process of the sale but at the end, none but myself responsible to make sure everything with the property is "legal" :(
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Thanks William for adding another perspective to this conversation. I was trying NOT to go into the details of having to remove walls, decks etc when they werent done right and to code, but you said it well. The analogy of improper wiring in a kitchen to putting an plugged-in appliance in your bath tub was terrific. THAT was one of the points I was trying to make all along!! And thanks again for reiterating that zoning is not a no appeal situation.

Sak, you are very welcome for the advise and I hoped it helped.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Actually Mary in her second last post said agent can help me to verify legality. That makes me feel better.

mary, by the way as william says you have provided lot of valuable information. thanks
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
William,

Let's keep investment aside to keep things simple. what about simple buyer buying simple single family house. is there anybody or any service there to certify to him that the house he is buying is "legal " ? Why can't his agent or his home inspector do that job of verifying "legality" ? in fact i am surprised that it's not already a part of their responsibility by default !
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Sak: Earlier in this discussion (If you care to call it that) I chimed in. I've sat back and watched since then and I must say that the Gentleman from Succasunna seems to have issues that border on the ethical, if nowhere else.

Mary, on the other hand, has done a great job of explaining the structure and process.

You asked if the buyer is on his/her own. The answer is YES, unless you want to bring your mother along. You are contemplating an investment in order to achieve a return. If you don't understand what you are doing, don't do it. That's what Warren Buffet, the world’s richest man ALWAYS advises. That goes for houses, stock certificates and horses, among other things.
As far as zoning goes, it is done within state guidelines and serves a purpose. It assures that certain uses are kept in certain areas. (Would you like a slaughterhouse built next door?) As Mary says, there is the Zoning Board of Adjustment, (perhaps an obsolete term) which weighs hardship and practicality in disputes. It is not a situation of no appeal at all.

As far as building codes and permits, you might not believe it, but there actually have been improvements in products and practices since 1900 and those relating to safety and health are important. I'm never unhappy with a job that's gotten its final approval from the building department. Are there problems? Yep! Always fair? Nope! Better than anything else? You betcha.

As a former General Contractor, one whose former wife was on the Board of Adjustment and as a homeowner who has both done his own work-WITH PERMITS and with licensed contractors WITH PERMITS, I will tell you that the system is reasonable, especially considering the cost of construction and the hazards that can be created. For example, putting in a kitchen usually includes both electrical wiring and plumbing. Mix those two together incorrectly and you might as well dump a plugged-in appliance in your bath.

There is a pretty easy way to do your diligence "on your own." First, get a good contractor to examine the prospective purchase. You need to know, before you go further, if the repairs will pay for themselves and if you can pay for them. Second, Observe any work previously done (your contractor should be helpful with that) and go to the building department to see if appropriate permits were drawn. It's a bear to have to pull out walls or demolish a deck that has not been properly engineered. On a commercial job, I once had to pull out a restroom when the handicapped facility was not done to code. On slab, that meant saw cuts in the floor and everything. On the other hand, handicapped workers could accept employment without fear of having no usable facilities.

If there is some work done without permit, the seller MUST fix it or, in some cases, the buyer can accept the responsibility. If they do so, they had better "on their own" negotiate a handsome discount for so doing.

So, after you have found out what needs to be done, what can be done and what are the rough costs for doing so, the next step is to find out what you would like to do that will change the essence of what you have. You must find out if the zoning and building codes allow it and what it will cost and what the expected return on your investment will be. If everything falls into place, you have a business venture. If not move on to the next situation.

But really, the bottom line is that a businessman needs to do things in a business-like manner. Shortcuts or wishes and dreams won't get you there.

Sorry to be a bit blunt, but it seemed that the time had come. Listen to what Mary had to say and consider yourself well advised.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
I suggest let's keep emotions away and discuss dry subject of rules and regulations :)

Let's proceed with best assumptions about each other such as we are all law abiding citizens and just presenting our opinions here.

Marc, i agree with you that "simply buying a legal 2-family" is best way. That's why I am asking who can assure me that the house I am looking at is "legal" ?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Sak and all,

My last post on this also.

This exchange reminds me of how I feel when I'm at the motor vehicles department. I firmly believe it takes a certain mentality to go into low level government service.

Nowehere did I state that you should evade the law. I questioned the law and it's implementation, NOT WHETHER YOU NEED TO FOLLOW IT. Of course you have to follow it, or else in addition to the permit charges, and confiscatory tax increases, the town will be happy to levy enormous fines if you do not toe the line and genuflect at the alter of the government bureaucrats.

Just be aware of what you are getting into and who you will be dealing with when attempting to improve your own property. It's not going to be logical, rational, or sensible. It is going to be arbitrary, inscrutable, and steeped in frustration. A lot of little "difference makers" will be chewing at your heels like a pack of ravenous Chihuahuas.

That is why I initially advocated simply buying a legal 2-family. Much easier, and the bureaucrats already ate someone else for dinner.

-Marc
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Sak,

It would be bad enough if you were on your own. But it's worse. A trip to the town will usually end in total frustration. Nobody is willing to answer any questions directly. Because nobody really knows anything. They will tell you that you must submit your plans with an architect or engineering seal, they will run you around until you are totally dizzy.

To add a bloody stove to a basement could end up costing thousands of dollars and weeks of begging some fool who can't get a job in the real world - only to be told that the answer is no. That the whole town will go up in a mushroom cloud if your mom wants to live downstairs and cook a LEAN CUISINE.

-Marc
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Mary,

You viewpoint is that of a government bureaucrat. More rules. More regulations. The homeowners are incompetent. We need to inspect to save them from themselves.

The real point is making money for the town. You charge all kinds of ridiculous money for permits, make it impossible to get anything done on a timely basis, interfere with often arbitrary judgements on the quality or quantity of work, and then have the nerve to up the taxes on every home that gets an improvement.

And that is the REAL motivation behind the whole scheme. TO INCREASE THE TAXES AND MAKE MORE MONEY FOR THE GOVERNMENT.

The entire permit and approval process is nothing more than revenue generation pure and simple.

Maybe it was envisioned differently by some foolish idealist from the 1950's, but in 2009 it's an industry all to itself. The idea is to charge money, issure permits, charge money, inspect and fail, charge more money, inspect and fail, charge more money, inspect and pass, and issue the final whammy - a huge, permament tax increase to keep everyone employed and with benefits so that they can issue new regulations and repeat the whole process ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

It has gotten completely out of hand. The entire system should be scrapped. On top of that, there is usually rampant politics involved and people with friends in the right places get things approved while "outsiders" can just expect to pay, pay, and pay.

Like most government activities, permit/approval is a completely corrupt system. Zoning boards? Don't even get me started on those. To comment accurately would require the kind of language I don't like to see in print.

-Marc
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Mary, really ? the buyers is on his own ? Assuming the buyer is not and expert in zoning, building regulations(which i guess is the case with most buyers including myself), isn't there an expert involved in regular buying process who is responsible to note such thing and bring such thing to buyers attention ? and shouldn't it happen for any house that buyer wants to buy, not just the one he has a particular concern about ?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Sorry Mary,

But I have had issues with overzealous town officials who immediately want to have an Inquisition if they hear whispers of a mother/daughter kitchen. I think towns have been given far too much power in this regard. Private property rights are disappearing under the onerous yolk of government over-regulation. A person should be able to install a second kitchen for an older parent in their home without the town coming in to up their assessment. It has gotten ridiculous. Too much power in the hands of often mindless bureaucrats.

It is best to request the information anonymously rather than get the town involved prematurely. Yes, conversion to a 2-family will require permits, but only at the right time.

-Marc
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Thanks Mary.

If I am buying an existing house, whom should I rely on to uncover any non conformances to zonning or building laws ? will it be mainly the home inspector or my agent or both or do i need to do some additional due diligence myself ?

Also if such issues are found, what happens next ? is the sale cancelled or can the things be fixed, and some kind of conformance certificate received by seller for sale to proceed ?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
It's one of those things that is frowned on, but everyone does it. Usually as long as you don't create a separate entrance and you can get between the 2 living areas through a doorway, it's fine. Occasionally you have to remove the second kitchen when you go to sell, it depends on how tough the town wants to be.

If I were you, I would visit the town anonymously and speak to the zoning department about the mother/daughter requirements. Some towns have relatively easy to follow rules, others fight you every step of the way. Just don't reveal the property address in question when you go down, just say you are thinking of buying in Edison but you might need to create a kitchenette for mom. See what they say.

-Marc

Marc Paolella
Relocation Director
Member, Worldwide ERC
Licensed Realtor NJ
Licensed Appraiser NJ & NY
Century 21 Joe Tekula Realtors
Agent of the Year 2008
Owner: Sands Appraisal Service, Inc.
Phone (direct): (973) 584-4235
web: http://www.marcpaolella.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
Wow ! That's a great link Marc. Exactly sort of thing i was looking for. Thanks.

On related note, what are restrictions on usage/renting of mother-in-law part of mother-daughter unit (assuming owner is living in main part) ?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
Hi Sak,

The complete zoning code for Edison is available online here:

http://70.168.205.112/edison_nj/lpext.dll?f=templates&fn…

If you are planning something like a conversion, or even if you are going to buy a multi-family, it would pay for you to read the entire zoning ordinance to understand what you can and cannot do. It's dry reading, but it is also quite interesting.

-Marc

Marc Paolella
Relocation Director
Member, Worldwide ERC
Licensed Realtor NJ
Licensed Appraiser NJ & NY
Century 21 Joe Tekula Realtors
Agent of the Year 2008
Owner: Sands Appraisal Service, Inc.
Phone (direct): (973) 584-4235
web: http://www.marcpaolella.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 3, 2009
Thanks William for some good pointers.

to clarify one point, as an investor, i will hardly have any objections to anybody renting as long as i feel they can pay me and not create any problems for me.

point well taken though, i should use term "individuals" instead of "bachelors". I hope its's not illegal to expect only one person to occupy one room though, that's what i really care about, not whether they are married or not.

it's so hard to be politically correct all the time though. when i think of single person renting single room the word "bachelor" naturally come to my mind. it doesn't really mean that i will rent out to only unmarried male. i know i need to use lawyer to post ads etc. :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 3, 2009
Sak: You ARE a busy beaver! You've been asking questions right and left. I know that it is tough to get started but you might start looking for a KNOWLEDGEABLE Realtor. Zoning laws are intended to foster better communities by having a master plan of what goes where. Obviously, the laws that have been promulgated to assist low-income people in finding a reasonable stock of decent shelter impact the desire to have only McMansions "in my back yard."

The place to start your quest is at the building department of the towns in which you are desirous to make a purchase. They can guide you through what can be an amazingly complex set of zoning designations. Looking at the master plan map, you may find areas where the kind of housing you intend to create are just fine. There are many areas where a second kitchen has turned a cape cod into a two family home. There are also areas (especially around colleges) where you would not believe the number of occupants. It’s my advice that you just don't discriminate by sex, as your terminology might suggest. As a matter of fact, this "familial status" is one of the protected classes in real estate. I know of towns where the town fathers have passed strict laws about underage drinking and restrictive laws regarding number and relationship of occupants and just last week they were busy rewriting them because the state stepped in.

You will probably make no friends among the neighbors but diligence in organizing your approach, and I include a good legal counsel in that, will get you a wide list of options.


Lots of luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 3, 2009
Thanks Mark.

By the way, I am definitely not looking to do anything that is not legal. Hence asking questions to know what is legally possible. Else why would I have asked about zoning restrictions ?

also when i said "if i buy for investment" I meant using investment loan.

Is there any legal way to convert single family home in multifamily or rooming house ?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 3, 2009
Forget #1. You can't do it legally. And if you get caught you will be fined and required to remove the second kitchen. You will be caught. Neighbors always report that sort of thing. If for some reason you are not caught, and there is a fire or other mishap and and someone gets hurt or dies, you will be sued for everything you have, and you will lose.

Forget #2. If you operate a rooming house in a single family zone, everything in #1 above will also apply.

I would simply buy a legal 2-family. Much less hassle.

Also, if you buy a single family and obtain a mortgage, the mortgage will usually stipulate owner-occupied single family usage regardless of the zoning. If the bank subsequently finds out you are using the property as an investment, they will recall the mortgage and you'll be screwed. And they will find out. They monitor that sort of thing.

-Marc

Marc Paolella
Relocation Director
Member, Worldwide ERC
Licensed Realtor NJ
Licensed Appraiser NJ & NY
Century 21 Joe Tekula Realtors
Agent of the Year 2008
Owner: Sands Appraisal Service, Inc.
Phone (direct): (973) 584-4235
web: http://www.marcpaolella.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 3, 2009
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