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

UPDATED: Sep 10, 2011

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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


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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