Florida--code compliance for existing unit?

5 Replies

Greetings BP fam! I am thinking about making an offer on a multi-unit property that has been listed as a "triplex" that is actually a duplex with a detached garage that has been converted into a studio efficiency unit. I'm told by my agent that the current (or previous) seller that did the modification to the garage did not do all of the proper permitting before doing the construction. It is currently occupied.

Found an old listing info reads, "garage can be turned into permitted efficiency for additional income for approx. $6000 to $7000." What do they mean by this? If I were to acquire the property, what would I have do to make this a legitimate (and safe) dwelling without putting myself at risk? Do I need to evict the occupant?

Thanks in advance, all!

Well, it is really up to your county building inspector of what you have to do.  You should go to the building department and have a conversatino with them.  Some munis will want you to open up walls and what not so they can see what's inside.  Some I have heard will just make you tear out the entire unpermitted portion and begin again.  

First, does zoning/land use Allow 3 units instead of 2?  You go down to county building and zoning on Jog rd, 2nd floor. They have a planner person you can sit down with and ask, they’re helpful. 

If allowed, yes you’d have to pull a permit, with a licensed contractor, get it inspected and as stated above it’s hit or miss how much opening up and redoing you may have to do. 

@Wayne Brooks I'll likely have to pay them a visit, thanks. Unfortunately the modification was already completed with one of the previous owners. It's an approx. 400 sq. ft. garage that was converted over to a full studio with plumbing for a bathroom/shower, and a small mini-kitchenette.

My fingers are crossed that while not permitted from the get-go, that the work on the modification is code-compliant and that it'll just be a matter of just getting it permitted after inspection. Complicating matters worse, the unit is occupied--so it's looking like I'll have to ask the seller to have that unit vacant prior to closing if I don't want to put myself at risk.  

@Brian Ton I’d go down and check on the zoning/land use first....if it’s not allowed, the rest is a moot point.  Also, most sellers won’t vacate a unit prior to closing since many buyers don’t actually close, not without a significant non refundable EM anyway.

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