Converting Boarding House to 8-plex?

6 Replies

Right now I have a "6,000" sqft property. It is grandfathered in as a boarding house; I have no experience with re-zoning a property. What is the likelihood of a zoning committee allowing a change of use to a 8-plex (or more)? Is it standard to have to do 100% of the work right off the bat? Or can I do it in phases? I would love to convert this property into 1BR/2BR units. I'm not too keen on house hacking to 8 random people! Any insights on prior experiences are appreciated! 

@Benjamin Morris

This is a great question for a planning and zoning attorney in your area.  These type of determinations often hang on the whims of neighbors and local elected officials, so knowing the landscape and having a consolidated strategy is paramount before you breath a word of your plans to anyone else. 

Be very cautious and work with an attorney to develop a good sales pitch and solid legal argument.  You could literally mention your plan to a neighbor who nods his head and agrees one day and have folks picketing the property a few days later.  Your 8 plex could become the subject of a game of telephone and end up being described to half the town as "a Section 8" project.

Zoning regs vary, BUT multifamily units are usually classified (at least in Calif) as R2 while SFR housing is R1. You will need to seek a ZONING WAIVER and that's never a cake walk :sigh:

Originally posted by @Kyle Penland :

Why don't you just convert one to a stand alone apt and keep the boarding house?  Just a thought.

 My thoughts are each bedroom can reasonably fetch $500 each - with all utilities included. If I break out out into 2 bedroom units, they can get ~$850+ each without paying for any of their utilities. 

@Kyle Penland I got the property at a steal for $70k. Currently living there and renting 4 of the bedrooms; I just feel there is that untapped potential in the property. Instinctively I feel that I should make it a 4-family for an easier sale down the road, and if I can do that for under $150k - this was a better outcome than buying a 4-family already on the market. I like to hold my properties, so if 8-plex is allowable, I feel its a more profitable end goal. (Especially since there is little return on having larger units).