If you have a single family house zoned R1, can you rent out the units separately? This is a two-story house with 2bed 1bath and kitchen on both levels. My question would be, if I were to split units with a door would I be able to rent it out as two separate units? Not looking to sell as a duplex, this would be for a rental purpose only. Thanks!
I'm no expert, I'd recommend researching the local laws, but I can't imagine why you couldn't do that. You may want to use caution in your verbiage (e.g. "private entrance" vs. referring to it as its own unit) but if you can legally rent a room in your home (to a roommate), I see no reason you couldn't rent the whole floor. No law says you have to share space or interact.
As you noted, selling as a duplex would be a different matter entirely :)
Generally, your R1 zoning will not allow you to split it into two lots. The only way to know for sure is call your Planning and Zoning office and ask.
In my city, that solely depends on the zoning and the number of units per acre allowed. If the area you are in allows 8 dwellings per acre and your area is already at 8, the city will not allow you to split that property, creating 9 units per acre. There are also requirements for number of off street parking spots per unit, private entrances, etc.
You can potentially rent it out as a "housemate" listing, or do AirBnB/HomeAway (based on your cities STR regulation).