Can I split a two party owned duplex in Willow Glen San Jose, into two separate units?

Asked by Carol Caruso, Willow Glen, San Jose, CA Mon Apr 2, 2012

The two units are joined by a common wall dividing the two garages and share one main city water line.

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John Juarez’s answer
John Juarez, Agent, Fremont, CA
Wed Apr 4, 2012

I think that you need to sit down with a Realtor and have a discussion about what you are trying to accomplish. It is highly doubtful that you can divide the duplex into two separate properties. Are you trying to get money out of the building? Do you have equity? Are you under water? What is your goal?

I suggest that you spend some time with an experienced Realtor and discuss your needs and goal.
0 votes
Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Mon Apr 2, 2012
If I understand your question correctly you are asking if a duplex can be split with two different parcels so that they can be sold as if they are individual homes?

Usually not. A legally zoned duplex has one parcel number. You would be trying to rezone one parcel in a planned map zoned for duplexes.

Since they share only one main city and water line I also question if it is a legal duplex. This can be found at the city or Title Company.

My question is what are you trying to accomplish? If two people own the property and each live or rent out their individual units, you would not be able to resale only half, unless it is between the two current owners. You might be able to sell just your portion of the DEED outside of the partnership, but this should be investigated and handled by the Title and Escrow Company, & Real Estate Attorney to make sure it is handled properly. It is rarely done.
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1 vote
Barbara Parr…, , San Jose, CA
Mon Apr 2, 2012
Probably not, If the lot is huge and the duplex is two separate buildings (Some times in the early 1900s, An owner would build 2 separate hoses on one big lot probably for a child or parent to live in). Then when the city started doing zoning, they called it a duplex and zoned the property R2 but as standards and zoning changes they may not allow you to subdivide the property.
If you want to separate from the other owner and invest on your own, one party would have to refinance and buy the other partners share. Another option would be to both sell the duplex and each invest in whatever you want to own. Now is a good time to buy foreclosed property as an investment.
1 vote
Andrea Wince…, Agent, Milpitas, CA
Mon Apr 2, 2012
I recommend you contact the City of San Jose to answer that question. Here's a link with some helpful information:
I am familiar with a type of duplex with one common wall dividing the two garages. It is an older building, one car garage on each side. Each side has a separate postal address but only the first address is recognized by one APN number. There is only one main water line to the property, however, it splits as separate meters within the duplex.
I don't know if the City would allow you to separate a duplex but it won't hurt to ask them.
0 votes
charles butt…, Agent, san jose, CA
Mon Apr 2, 2012
As Teri Velios and Barbara Parrish pointed out, that would require the approval of the City of San Jose. Essentially you would have to subdivide the property into two separate parcels.

I cannot imagine that the city of San Jose would permit you to do that.

Thank you,
Charles Butterfield MBA
Real Estate Broker/REALTOR
American Realty
Cell Phone: (408)509-6218
Fax: (408)269-3597
Email Address:
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