If I have a “single family” dwelling with a mother-in-law suite attached, is it legal for me to live in the suite and rent out the rest of the house to a small family?

UPDATED: Jan 4, 2013

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If I have a “single family” dwelling with a mother-in-law suite attached, is it legal for me to live in the suite and rent out the rest of the house to a small family?

My concern is, will my homeowner’s insurance cover this situation? If not, is there some way to fix this situation so I could live in my home and rent it out at the same time? For example, if I lived in the main part of the house, could I rent out the mother-in-law suite to a boarder? I am also a little concerned about zoning law, but my main concern is home insurance. I have 2 duplex units down the street and I don’t live in a neighborhood that has HOA associations or covenants.

Asked on January 4, 2013 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, it is legal to live in part of your home and rent out other parts. You do have to comply with your local zoning law and also make sure your rental is properly registered with your municipality--contact your town or city clerk's office and/or building department to inquire into this.

As to insurance: regular homeowner's insurance will NOT cover a rental. Homeowner's insurance covers when the insured resides in the home and does not rent out part or all of it. You need insurance specifically for rental units. Your insurer or insurance agent/broker can guide you in getting the correct insurance. Note that if you do not get the proper insurance and have some loss or damage, your insurer may deny the claim because you would have committed a material (important) misrepresentation by having regular homeowner's insurance and not notifying the insurer of the rental or seeking (and paying for) appropriate coverage.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption