Legalizing third apartment in triplex

5 Replies

Hello guys. So recently my father passed away and my mom, brother and me inherited the house that we were living in. The house we live in is in NYC to my surprise, it is still legally a duplex, although the house is actually a triplex. This was to my surprise when i started looking at the documents. Both the tenants that live in the house pay cash and my father paid for utilities in the house. I am trying to change this. I know he took cash from both of them, but i never knew he didnt have a lease written up with them. Like i said i want to change all of this. Does anyone know how I go about this?

My goal is to:

- Meter both tenants for utilities so they pay for their own

- legalize the house as a triplex.

@Kevin Giraldo my condolences on the loss of your father. That’s gotta be tough to have to manage all of this.

REBNY has a standard lease that real estate agents use for their lease ups in NYC. You could check there first. I think the utilities would be a bit more challenging. Water would be the most difficult to meter individually. Typically, that's on the building to pay and the rents are adjusted accordingly. There are systems that would allow it but it's unusual for a tenant to pay their water bill. If you had to find new tenants it'll be easier to bump the rent up to make up for the water.

Electric meters should be easier to obtain and run. I’d speak to an electrician about how complicated it would be. Electric and gas, tenants are used to paying and it won’t be a surprise if that’s not included in the rent.

Hopefully, this helps some.

@Michael Baker thank you for the information. The thing is though don’t i have to legalize the property as a triplex before I do anything? The thing is my father separated the second unit into two without telling the state. I want to legalize all of that before I can meter each apartment.

@Michael Baker it is a legal 2 family. But my father built a wall to separate the downstairs first unit without notifying the city. I want to see if there is a way to legalize the third one. Or is it even necessary. Then i would like to meter both bottom units after they are legalized in order to maximiZe profits.

@Kevin Giraldo , Changing a property from 2 family to 3 family can be possible depending on your particular building characteristics. There are a number factors which determine whether a conversion such as this is feasible. EX: Zoning, Code Compliance, Layout, Egress, ADA requirements, Etc.

I am working on a couple of these type projects currently and a project specific review/feasibility report will be necessary for you to determine both if you can convert and the level of alteration required in order to do so.

Feel free to reach out if you have questions.

Best of Luck

Alex Furini, RA