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Re: how to legally rent a basement apt
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...which is why the Mayor has been talking about an amnesty program for illegal 3rd apartments. Because some many buildings operate as a 3 unit building anyway, the city should at least be collecting taxes on it.

Posted on: 2011/7/12 1:55
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Re: how to legally rent a basement apt
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cyclotronic wrote:
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brewster wrote:
There's plenty of 3+ units in R-1 zones, they just have to have been grandfathered in...


No, I'm pretty sure most of them are just illegal.

For a legal 3 family in a 1-2 family zone, you need to apply for a zoning variance, which means hiring a layer, an architect, and often a professional planner, but various other fees (postage for mailing legal notices to all your neighbors, etc.) Expect to spend $10k+ and with no guarantee the variance will be granted.


That is all true to CONVERT ONE NOW!! But when they overlaid the zoning decades ago, existing properties that exceeded the limit were grandfathered in. I own 2 perfectly legal green carded multifamilies in R-1 zones. What, do you think they required people to get tear down buildings or eliminate apartments when they created the zoning?

Now, if someone converted their basement into an apartment after the zoning was in place, they're got an illegal unit. I hear even some of the "sugared brick" new construction was designed to have the 1st floor easily converted illegally after getting the CoO as a 2 unit.

Posted on: 2011/7/12 1:35
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Re: how to legally rent a basement apt
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brewster wrote:
There's plenty of 3+ units in R-1 zones, they just have to have been grandfathered in...


No, I'm pretty sure most of them are just illegal.

For a legal 3 family in a 1-2 family zone, you need to apply for a zoning variance, which means hiring a layer, an architect, and often a professional planner, but various other fees (postage for mailing legal notices to all your neighbors, etc.) Expect to spend $10k+ and with no guarantee the variance will be granted. Frankly, if your property has been operating as a 3-family for some time, and no one has noticed, you're best off just continuing as-is.

Posted on: 2011/7/11 23:39
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Re: how to legally rent a basement apt
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jc_dweller wrote:
Common misconception.
It's perfectly legal to rent out a basement apartment (this is different than a cellar, mind you.)
What is illegal in most parts of the city is having three units total. You can have one basement apartment and a second rental/owned apartment above it. You can not have three total.
If you want three total in most parts of the city you have to go to the Zoning Board and ask for permission. If you have it illegally, you will get a violation, sent to court, and if your insurance were to find out about it that would get cancelled....


There's plenty of 3+ units in R-1 zones, they just have to have been grandfathered in, but you want to be a 2, which should be doable presuming the space is legally habitable. You need to find out the current status. If you're not legal, get a lawyer, and not the one who closed your purchase leaving you clueless as to what you bought.

The cellar vs basement issue revolves around % above ground, less than 50% and it's an uninhabitable cellar. But we once looked at a place with a basement unit clearly deeper than that and the agent insisted the apartment was legal. So maybe there are exceptions there.

Posted on: 2011/7/11 16:49
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Re: how to legally rent a basement apt
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jerseyguy wrote:
Hi ,
I bought a 2-family house in jersey city(jersey heights area) which had 2 tenants - one in the basement & one on the 2nd floor, the owner lived on 1st floor. Now i am hearing that it is illegal to rent basement apartment although i see many houses in the neighborhood doing so. I had factored in rental income for paying my mortgage while considering to buy this property. So now i am wondering if there is a way to legally rent basement apartment ?
The basement apartment has a seperate entrance from outside as well as one from the garage & it has 1 window in each room.
Thanks for your help.


How is it listed in the tax records?

Posted on: 2011/7/11 15:41
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Re: how to legally rent a basement apt
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Common misconception.
It's perfectly legal to rent out a basement apartment (this is different than a cellar, mind you.)
What is illegal in most parts of the city is having three units total. You can have one basement apartment and a second rental/owned apartment above it. You can not have three total.
If you want three total in most parts of the city you have to go to the Zoning Board and ask for permission. If you have it illegally, you will get a violation, sent to court, and if your insurance were to find out about it that would get cancelled....

Posted on: 2011/7/11 15:07
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Re: how to legally rent a basement apt
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Someone once said (and I'm going with memory as I don't know exactly) that you can legally rent out the basement, but the city asses additional tax on the property like its it a house to itself.. Which is why almost all basements are illegal..

Posted on: 2011/7/11 0:36
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how to legally rent a basement apt
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Hi ,
I bought a 2-family house in jersey city(jersey heights area) which had 2 tenants - one in the basement & one on the 2nd floor, the owner lived on 1st floor. Now i am hearing that it is illegal to rent basement apartment although i see many houses in the neighborhood doing so. I had factored in rental income for paying my mortgage while considering to buy this property. So now i am wondering if there is a way to legally rent basement apartment ?
The basement apartment has a seperate entrance from outside as well as one from the garage & it has 1 window in each room.
Thanks for your help.

Posted on: 2011/7/10 18:23
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