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Re: Rent basement and first floor as "duplex" - is it legal?
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I think "duplex" is a stretch here. A landlord can rent a first floor and a basement - but the real question is whether the basement is habitable as a safe and legal living space vs. let's say, a laundray or storage space.

If I remember correctly, in order for the basement to be habitable, there must be another means of egress in case of an emergency. Windows must be large enough for escape (no bars) or there must be a door. Landlords are also responsible for smoke/CO detectors on each floor of the building.

In JC, you're going to see a ton of "finished" basements that were done without permits. But, if the landlord is trying to cram a bunch of people into a first floor and basement (that is not up to code - especially with an extra load with appliances -particularly the stove) that could be a fire issue.

Many times these quicky basements have wiring issues that are extremely dangerous. I would go the route of the fire inspector instead of zoning - you may get a faster answer to your question.

Good luck and please follow up here as it helps others with the same future question.

Posted on: 2013/4/24 15:08
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Re: Rent basement and first floor as "duplex" - is it legal?
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Brewster - yes, there is a bathroom and stove. Thanks for the reply.

Posted on: 2013/4/24 13:21
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Re: Rent basement and first floor as "duplex" - is it legal?
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Quote:

Sam112 wrote:
Does a basement rented together with the first floor apartment still count as one unit?


Yes.

However, if there's a 2nd stove in the basement as well as there presumably being a bathroom, it would be an illegal apartment, regardless of how it's leased.

Posted on: 2013/4/24 3:08
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Re: Rent basement and first floor as "duplex" - is it legal?
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I'm really not interested in getting into a tete-a-tete with Brewster (and yes, I did check the tax rolls)

Anyway, as I mentioned in the initial post, it's a 2 family house (2 legal units, if you prefer more precision) -- originally the first floor as one apartment and the second floor as a second apartment. No permits were filed pertaining to finishing the basement (or any other work). My question was focused on whether permits, CoOs, etc.. should have been filed to allow a basement to be rented as a duplex with the first floor apartment. Does a basement rented together with the first floor apartment still count as one unit? I understand that more space does not necessarily mean more occupants (wouldn't we all like more space); but, in this particular case it does (there are about 7-8 adults and 3 children).

Posted on: 2013/4/24 1:28
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Re: Rent basement and first floor as "duplex" - is it legal?
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Sam112 wrote:
To be more blunt, there were no permits. Also not sure how you are reading that the number of units is decreasing when in effect it would appear there are now 3 units in a 2 family house. The basement was not rented in the past and is now being rented as a additional unit together with the first floor apartment as a "duplex" . So, the landlord is increasing the occupany of the building (many more people living in the house) without paying any additional taxes, etc..


You SAID:"taking a basement apartment and renting it with a first floor apartment as a "duplex"" which led me to believe the house was a legal 3 family with a legal basement unit. You still have not said there was unpermitted WORK done, as opposed to this change that upsets you. And if the basement was on the tax rolls as finished already, he was paying the taxes.

Have you actually looked on the tax rolls to see what the legal # of units are? tax search

Posted on: 2013/4/23 15:27
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Re: Rent basement and first floor as "duplex" - is it legal?
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It sounds like the landlord would normally rent the one floor and hoping to charge more rent by making it seem larger and more appealing by saying duplex. It doesn't mean more people will live there, just that the landlord is trying to capitalize on a term realtors use all the time instead of saying "first floor with basement".

Posted on: 2013/4/23 14:37
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Re: Rent basement and first floor as "duplex" - is it legal?
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Unless the unit is not up to code, I seriously doubt there are any problems.

And making the unit into a duplex doesn't necessarily increase the number of occupants. Plenty of people would like to have more space, as opposed to more people in their apartment.

So yeah, my guess is that you're stuck with it.

Posted on: 2013/4/23 14:16
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Re: Rent basement and first floor as "duplex" - is it legal?
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To be more blunt, there were no permits. Also not sure how you are reading that the number of units is decreasing when in effect it would appear there are now 3 units in a 2 family house. The basement was not rented in the past and is now being rented as a additional unit together with the first floor apartment as a "duplex" . So, the landlord is increasing the occupany of the building (many more people living in the house) without paying any additional taxes, etc..

Posted on: 2013/4/23 4:01
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Re: Rent basement and first floor as "duplex" - is it legal?
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Sam112 wrote:
Does anyone know the legality of taking a basement apartment and renting it with a first floor apartment as a "duplex"? Is this legal? Are permits required? The house is listed as a 2 family house and the 2nd floor is rented separately. I believe the basement does qualify as a basement (vs. a cellar). Many thanks for any info.


What's your problem with it anyway? Who's being hurt? You've not described permitless contracting work, just a different occupancy. The authorities are far more concerned about a landlord increasing the number of units than decreasing them, as this landlord has done. If I had done it, I would not change the CoO, because if I ever wanted to change it back it would be a huge PITA.

Posted on: 2013/4/23 1:06
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Rent basement and first floor as "duplex" - is it legal?
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Does anyone know the legality of taking a basement apartment and renting it with a first floor apartment as a "duplex"? Is this legal? Are permits required? The house is listed as a 2 family house and the 2nd floor is rented separately. I believe the basement does qualify as a basement (vs. a cellar). Many thanks for any info.

Posted on: 2013/4/22 23:19
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