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Alex J. Esq.
Alex J. Esq., Attorney at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12786
Experience:  Experienced Licensed Attorney
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If a house is legally built and never modified, can it later

Resolved Question:

If a house is legally built and never modified, can it later be claimed to contain an illegal apartment? are zoning laws applicable retreoactively. also, can a city apply any legal limit to who occupies a single family residence (as in only family members can live there, etc)
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hello. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be happy to answer your question.

Can you please give me more details about your situation so I can better answer your question?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

i am sharing this hosue with 1 other person. ownership of the hosue if a fuzzy, seperate issue, but for simplicity sake i'll say i am the owner. if to answer fully more details about that are necessary i'll go into it then.

 

the town building inspector is claiming that some sort of "illegal apartment" exists here. this issue has also come up in the past. as i have said, this house was built this way, to my knowledge legally and without ever having been modified. it was always owned by my family, but admittedly i was very young in the early years. i am assuming no modifications have ever been made that would create an "illegal apartment."

 

when arguing this with the town on a previous occassion, my sister said the building inspector told her it was illegal for the owner of a house to share a residence with a non family member, which i find ridiuclous.

 

i am currently being pestered by the building inspector again, i am assuming the eventual outcoe will be the same as last time, that i am told someone has to leave or i will be issues a summons.

Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Is this house officially a one family house?

Do you have any type of a separate apartment, finished basement, or other living space that has a bathroom and a separate entrance?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

the house was built and sold as a one family house in a lot i am told is zoned to be a 1 family. however, it has always been taxed as a two family. the ground floor has a living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, garage and a rear entrance. there is also a side entrance which opens onto a foyer area and gives direct access to both upstairs and down. the upstairs is 3 bedrooms, kitchen 1 and 1/2 baths, front entrance.

 

let me stress again, to my knowledge this has always been the layout of the house and no modifications have been done since its construction.

 

would it be legal for my friend and i to both live upstairs, but illegal if one of us uses the downstairs? would we totally not be permitted to use any of the downstairs rooms at all?

Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Generally it is permitted for the owner or his guests, invitees, family members to use the entire house, but would be illegal to rent out a separate living quarters as an apartment and collect rent for it.


If you are satisfied with my answer, I would appreciate if you would click on the accept button.
Please keep in mind if you already made a deposit or on a monthly subscription plan you will not incur any additional charges, but I will only be compensated for my time and effort only if you click on ACCEPT.

Bonus and positive feedback are always greatly appreciated!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
how would "rent" be legally established? my friend does contribute towards monthly expenses but doesnt pay anything near market value rent on apartment and does not have a fully seperate living quarters.
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Are you living as members of the same household?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

i'm not sure what means, legally. there is one set of bills paid collectively by the both of us. they are all in my name.

 

Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Are you living as a family unit?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
again, what means in legal terms i do not know. we're friends, i consider her to be my roommate.
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Generally the owner of the property can not have roommate and it would be considered that you are leasing a room to her or some other living space.

In order for the code inspector to establish that part of your house is being leased, the inspector does not have to prove that there is a lease and/or rent being paid directly to the owner, neither does a rent amount has to equal to the current market rent value, as contributions to the expenses related to the house, can be considered as valuable consideration paid for the rented space.

It would be up to the code inspector to prove that a valid lease exist in order to assess fines or penalties against you for alleged rental of an "illegal" apartment.

If you are satisfied with my answer, I would appreciate if you would click on the accept button.
Please keep in mind if you already made a deposit or on a monthly subscription plan you will not incur any additional charges, but I will only be compensated for my time and effort only if you click on ACCEPT.

Bonus and positive feedback are always greatly appreciated!
Alex J. Esq., Attorney at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12786
Experience: Experienced Licensed Attorney
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