Fouplex in Duplex zone

3 Replies


I am considering buying a 4-plex in Fort Worth, TX. Great deal with 14% cap even on a 15yr note. (I'll be buying all cash though). It's also remodeled.

The catch in the deal is, the city has zoned the neighborhood to be SFR/Duplex only. I'm being told that it will cost only a couple of thousand to re-zone it. Is that true?

The risk is if the re-zone request is denied then the city might force us to convert it back to a duplex/SFR.

Anyone has experience in this area? Any advice is helpful.

Respectfully, please don't comment just talk to an expert. I already know that.


@Yuvaraj Vimawala , I think you need to have a discussion with the zoning board to see what their intentions are.  

What is the current zoning for this particular property?  

Did the current owner convert the property to a 4-plex without proper permitting?  If not, the zoning code may permit properties like this to be grandfathered in and its likely a legally permitted use. 

I would try to get a letter from the city stating that your property won't require to be converted back and also make your offer contingent on receiving this information from the city.   

In my area of California, properties that have been rezoned to fewer units are like gold mines. Let me clarify, we have multiple properties that are zoned for 2 units or less, but ours are 3 or 4 units. Now I'll list the bonuses:

1. Extra doors, means extra money. We definitely earn 2x to 1.5x what we would be earning with the extra units.

2. Tenants don't care as long as it's nice. They will pay market for the unit, not the zoning issues.

3. DO NOT TELL THE CITY OR TRY TO RE ZONE. My city in particular is not about to allow rezoning. As far as the city is concerned, we have "legal non conforming properties". They are legal, but they cannot be recreated as they are today as they don't comply with zoning. If we were to tell them, the city would make us remove a unit or two.

4. Only bummer is that you can't recreate it in case something were to happen. Have a client who is always concerned about whether not you could recreate the property because he has had a property burn down. Ultimately, his bigger concern is making sure that he could generate the same kind of income. That's somewhat of a toss up sometimes, but they're still my favorite properties.

Consider it a slam dunk!!! Congratulations!!!

Thanks @Kristina Heimstaedt and @Brendan Kelly . From what the realtor briefly told me, it is currently legal. The term legal non-conforming sounds right. I also remember him telling me about the grandfathered clause. He also recommended to not request the city for re-zoning as that is like opening a can of worms. 

I will still check if they had the permits when they converted it to a fourplex. Yes, I also agree 4 is better than 2 and would prefer a fourplex to a duplex. I am willing to accept the recreation risk in case of a burn down. 

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