How can I legalize additional apartment?

   I'm looking to buy a multi family home in Brooklyn. It is oversized 3 story legal 2 family home that has 3 apartments with unfinished basement that could be potentially converted into additional apartment. How hard is it to legalize additional units? Should I talk to an attorney first? Any advise is greatly appreciated.

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  • There is definitely quite a few steps and rules but I think as far as an investment and cash flow it is well worth it. Thanks again and good luck with your property.

  • Ethan:  Also, FYI anything bigger than 2 family (3 family and up) falls under "NJ Dept. of Community Affairs" multiple dwelling laws, which means you need to have regular  inspections and have what is commonly referred to as a "green card" posted in hallway to show that building has been inspected and certified.  You need things like hard-wired smoke alarms, self-closing doors, fire escapes (depending on building design), and child window guards.   There are fees involved of course.   I am working on acquiring a 3 family building now where owner let green card expire, so I have to apply from scratch when I get the building.

  • I'm wondering the same thing. Because even if zoning allows 3 units, you still have to make sure it satisfies other requirements such as: Minimum ceiling height, Ingress and egress, sufficient light, etc.

    I think the key is to build an "egress window" or two, aka a "terrace window" which adds way more light AND allows egress.

    I've also read that you need a minimum  of 4 feet from basement unit ceiling to ground level at all points around! That would be a real deal killer if it's true. 

  • You're welcome but keep in mind I have NO experience in NY real estate.  :-(

  • thanks a lot Eric! This gives me at least an idea where to start.

  • Not sure how it works in NY, but in NJ you would have to first check with zoning office to see what street is zoned for.

    EG: If only zoned for 1 and 2 family then you know you would have an obstacle.

    You would have to apply for a "variance".     You would have to send registered mail notice to all neighbors within 200 feet and then if any one of them should object, you could have a legal battle on your hands.

    But that is NJ.....I am not really qualified to answer for NYC.

      Good Luck.

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