Hi, Is it legal to rent out rooms in the basment/entire basement to tenants in a single family home in South Orange? What are the requirements if so?

Asked by Ronald, New Haven, CT Sun Jan 6, 2013

Any limit to number of tenants you can have in a home?

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Joanne Douds, Agent, South Orange, NJ
Tue Mar 19, 2013
Make sure when purchasing a home in South Orange if their are any historic covenants attached to the title. Homes on the National Historic Registar and State Historic Registrar can ofter dictate if renting is allowed at all in a single family home.
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Andrew Tisel…, Agent, Clifton, NJ
Sat Mar 16, 2013

What kind of basement? what type of access does it have? size of windows? and doorways?

If you are renting out the basement with the rest of the house it is ok to do so as long as no one is sleeping down there.
To collect more than 1 rent or have 2 separate households, in a single family house could be breaking zoning laws regardless of type of basement.
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Bev & Bob Me…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Thu Jan 17, 2013
Hi, the person to speak with is not in the office until Tuesday. His name is Jean George, South Orange building inspector. The code enforcement department said he is the person to speak with regarding the viability and requirements. She said they have gotten this question before but she does not know the answer.

The town also has this on their website, http://southorange.org/TenantLandlord/ .
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Gerri levent…, Agent, Upper Monclair, NJ
Mon Jan 7, 2013
when renting you need 2 exits , because of fire laws. If there is a fire a tenant needs to get out of the house. Basementds and attics are usually not legal to rent out because of this reason. They are not legal to sleep in , in case a fire breaks out. That is why houses you see on the mls wityh finished basements and finished attics do not list the finished rooms as bedrooms. Legal multifamilies have a fireescape or 2 exits. Also the furnace is in the beasement which is another hazard. You may rent out rooms within your home as border rentals- which technically means there is not a seperate kitchen .
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Mary Petti, Agent, Edison, NJ
Mon Jan 7, 2013
Not likely. Debbie is 100% correct about turning your home into an ILLEGAL 2 family or rooming house.
in most towns there are heavy liabilities for this and regulations to follow when renting any portion of a home, not the least of which is direct access out of the unit in case of a fire. Plus if its not a legal apartment and something happens there could be criminal penalties too.
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Debra (Debbi…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Sun Jan 6, 2013
I am not an attorney, so this is not a legal opinion...just my initial response to your question......which is........

No, it isn't legal to arbitrarily rent out (multiple) rooms in a single family house (thereby turning the house into a rooming house). You need to check with the town building codes, zoning regulations, fire inspection codes and any other restrictions.

In addition - if a basement doesn't have egress (a way to get out in an emergency) , it usually can
t be consdiered as a legal bedroom.............so, there will be a huge liability incurred if it is used as such.

Another issue that needs to be investigated is homeowner's insurance.
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