What can happen to meif I have an illegal apartment at my house?

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What can happen to meif I have an illegal apartment at my house?

I would like to buy a house with a 2 car garage in AL. Since I am a single person with only my social security and small pension, I would like to find a house with a 2 car garage so that I can convert the garage into a small apartment for extra income towards my mortgage. Would this cause any legal problems, since it would not actually be a “legal apartment”. Is there any other options you can suggest? If I kept the garage door on installed inner walls and entrance door would that be feasible?

Asked on September 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You cannot legally convert a two (2) car garage into a one (1) car with a rental unless you get a permit to do the conversion from the building and permit department where the house is located. If you did the conversion without permits and rented it out, you could face significant fines and penalties for: 1.doing the illegal conversion and 2. renting it out.

The tenant potentially could have a claim against you for the refund of any rentals paid you during the occupancy of the unit in that as a legal unit, you should not be able to profit from it.

Suggested option: If you buy this house, before closing escrow make sure you can convert the garage into a living rental unit. If so, when you convert it, make sure you obtain proper permits.


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