Greetings BP Community:
I am in the process of converting a single family home in Baltimore to a legitimate duplex. I have already confirmed that the zoning is R2, which includes multifamily. I am however concerned about other steps to consider in the process. What is the process for having the property separately metered? Does anyone have an estimate on how long this can take? What are the pitfalls that you have experienced in converting a SFH to a duplex? Below are some of the photos. Any comments and thoughts are welcome (below is a photo of the actual home and a sample of how we would like for the home to look after).
Have you called the zoning department to verify the current zoning? Also if the property was vacant for more than a year it reverts back to a single family. BGE won't install separate meters until you have paperwork showing multi unit zoning. Take the following steps: call zoning twice(you may get different answers) If it is not zoned for multi units then you need to go through the zoning approval process. I hope this helps.
@Beth H. thank you very much, really helpful!
My experience is that in an R2 they are going to tell u to forget it, unless you have a current multi license in place
@Jeffrey H. thanks for your response. Luckily, there is a current multi license in place; however, it expires in June. We anticipate renewing before it expires though. Do you recall receiving any rationale for the licensing department not being on board with conversion in an R2, unless you already have the license.
Rationale is a loose term in baltimore city, which is nowhere approaching rational. They want less multi family housing and will eliminate it if they can eliminate it...the thinking behind it?? Something ridiculous im sure. You may want to consider renewing that license yesterday, and get a receipt.
@Martinis Jackson Congrats on the purchase! A friend of mine attempted to get a multi family property separately metered and she said it was a nightmare with Baltimore City. She said all in all it costed her $12k. But if you plan to keep the property for a while it is def worth it. Good luck and keep us posted.
Thanks @Kristen Ray !
@Martinis Jackson Make sure you get the multi-license renewed. If it gets reverted back to single-family you will lose the multi-license that is grandfather claused in. Below is a link to the zoning code which states residential conversions of single-family to multi-family is prohibited in R-1 through R-4 districts (see section 8-201b). However, worst case scenario if you do lose the existing license you might be able to subdivide to 2 Semi-Detached units given the subdivision would meet all bulk and yard regulations (see Table 8-401..all the way at the bottom). Subdividing can get expensive though and will require site plan review, permits, fees etc.
Short answer... exactly what Jeffrey H said.
Best of luck,
How did your conversion go?