What to do with beautiful in-law suite?

10 Replies

My wife and I are finally ready for a first home purchase.  One home we saw is 4,000sq/ft beautiful Victorian style on a few acres with a 900sq/ft in-law suit with all new appliances, hardwood and private entrance.  A similar apartment in this area would rent for about $1,100

So I'm wondering if this can be rented out?  I'm pretty sure in NJ there are laws against renting an in-law suite.  Could this be made into a duplex, maybe rent as a hair studio or something, lease it out for storage, get a "roommate", turn it into a home office for tax deduction, or just rent it to a friend or family member for a cash deal?

We could afford the home without renting, just wouldn't want to waste the space.

Also the more I think about it I'd really only be comfortable renting to like a little old woman or something as its attached to the house and you don't want a crazy loud tenant or anything.  So maybe one of the other ideas would be best?  This is far from a set in stone deal, just trying to get educated.

Sure wish we had an in-law suite! Great for guests! Family, friends, and others.... Ever think about hosting a foreign exchange student? We did and it was a great experience. Also, as your grandparents and parents age you may want to use it for it's original purpose.

Oh I completely agree.  Its a nice large home so guests would have plenty of room in the main house.  And using it as an inlaw suite for the parents is probably a good 15 years away.  So I'm just looking for ideas on the short term if we were to go this route.  exchange student actually sounds like a really good idea.  

Hey @Eric P.  ,

In-law suites can be fantastic ways to keep your mortgage payments low.  Have you thought about renting it out using Air BnB?  You could furnish it and rent it out short term for at least $75 a night (I just did a quick Airbnb search on your area).  So at 20 nights a month that's $1500, not bad.

If you're comfortable with strangers, I would just AirBNB it. 

Usually depending on zoning you are restricted from renting in law apartments as apartments. Lots of times the stove is not legal to put in the in law apartment.  If you are in south amboy or the surrounding area you can probably easily get a room renter to rent this. If you want to be picky about a renter that "lives with you" I suggest read up on fair housing law and target the situation by advertising it as what it is.   Your other option is to try to get it changed to a legal apartment but it might take some work (no separate electric /water/ adequate fire exits ) and if it is out of line with the community/zoning it is not going to fly.  So if you are say in areas where there are duplexes it may work, if not well it will be hard going. I saw a lot of illegal  rentals in Woodbridge area but not something I would recommend.

On AirBnB, past hosts leave reviews for past guests. This ensures that you can get a sense of who's going to be living in your in-law unit. 

If you're not concerned about maximizing your profits, you can specify week long minimum stays, and set buffer days between guests. This ensures that you're not spending a ton of time changing the sheets, and cleaning.

I would skip the Air BnB and try  and find a long term tenant yourself VS short term high turn over tenants.

If there is a stove there now it may be legal and allowed to stay there, you'll have to check.

I live din a mother/Daughter in NJ for 12 years and rented out the in-law sweet which ended up paying 3/4 of my mortgage.

Anyway, good luck as it sounds like a great home!


Legally if it is not a 2 family property you can not rent the space. If you ever end up in court with a tenant issue you could be asked to pay them bath the rent they paid you, be fined, ect. You may however be able to convert the property into a legal 2 family depending on zoning and approval. 

Legally you can use some of the space for a home office, especially if you own a business and write off a small percentage of your housing expenses asoicted with your 'office' I do not think you can legally use it for a hair salon, retail, doctor office, ect. 

If you have a close friend or family member and want to rent to them and you are ok to work out any issues that might arise between yourselves without court intervention then you may have a 'room mate' to help with your mortgage

I am not an attorney or accountant. 

What about corporate housing short term

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