I'm thinking of buying a 4 bedroom SFH in Atlantic County for my brother to live in and let him rent out the other three bedrooms. But I came across some conflicting information about what constitutes a boarding/rooming in NJ and it seems our plan my be considered illegal to do in a SFH. Does anyone have any info on this? Thanks!
Hi @Kim Forgione : boarding house/rooming houses in New Jersey are governed both by state law and local law. To legally operate a boarding/rooming house, you'd need both the approval of the state (e.g. a state license), and for it to be zoned appropriately by the municipality. The only legal boarding houses that I am aware of that currently exist in New Jersey have all existed for a very, very long time (like, before the current legal regime governing these places ~1979). I don't know what the process would be like to turn an existing structure into a boarding house--but I'd imagine, your larger problem would be with existing zoning, which likely would not permit a boarding/rooming house in a zone where you currently have a single family home.
The state maintains information about rooming and boarding houses here: https://www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/codes/offices/roomingboarding.html but your municipality will have its own zoning laws about what is permissible. Similarly, just because a rooming house exists on a list maintained by New Jersey doesn't mean it's permissibly operating in the municipality where it operates. There are rooming/boarding house all over NJ that are licensed by the state, but aren't permitted in the municipality where the exist (and, possibly, vice versa).
Having said that: there is likely nothing to stop your brother from, say, having roommates in his home. But, for example, putting locks on the doors, treating each individual bedroom as essentially a separate "unit" etc. would likely be impermissible. I know people do this all the time--but probably not legally permissibly.