I have a nonconforming triplex in the Whittier Park neighborhood of South Minneapolis. The property is a licensed duplex but it has had three units, one on each floor, since way before I bought it. I have owned it since 2001 and I’ve only had one rental inspection which occurred back in 2007 I believe. The inspector didn’t want to go into the third unit, she inspected the first two floors and said that was enough, because it was a duplex... There were some minor repairs I had to address, but she made me install fire doors with auto-closers, because I was renting it as a triplex...
I’ve read some city council minutes and it seems like nonconforming triplexes are an ongoing issue that come up.
I’ve had three inspections of other properties in the last year, so I’m sure this place will be inspected soon. I guess the city got their new software working finally.
Does anyone else have experience with anything like this in minneapolis?
Has anyone ever had success converting a nonconforming triplex to a “conforming” triplex in Minneapolis?
I’ve done it but it’s hard and cost me about $20,000 as I had to fire rate/sound proof all common areas/stairwells and add a second exit from the top floor-
best Avenue may be when/if they legalize non owner occupied ADU's as part of the 2040 comp plan
I agree with @Bruce Runn just wait until 2040 becomes legal.
@Andrew McGregor is the nonconformity due to building code issues or zoning related issues? I would start by checking the zoning map and determine what zoning district your property is in. Go to your zoning by law and make sure that a three family use is allowed in that area. If it is not, then trying to get that use approved at the board of appeals is going to be difficult. If that use is allowed, then I would consult a local attorney who is familiar with the zoning and has experience with the board to help guide you through the process.
Getting rezoning is actually easy- I've done multiple times in Minneapolis-no need for an attorney. It's also going to be legal by right by the 2nd half of the year so why spend the money?
In almost all cases, the conversion is a building code issue as you move from IRC (1-2 family residence) to IBC requirements (3+ units) Very different requirements.
Hi Bruce, thank you for the response. I've read a number of your posts since joining and I really respect your opinion. I had read about the proposed changes to zoning etc with the 2040 plan and ADUs seem like a great deal potentially for owners with smaller rental properties. I'm curious as to whether it will actually be any easier to make my third unit an ADU once the 2040 provision is passed. I'm concerned that they may make me bring everything up to current code similar to what you had to go through.
The city council wants higher density but if they make it onerous to do the conversions I think it will prevent many would be investors from adding ADUs. In my case the cash flow is not great on this property and if I was forced to bring the the property into compliance according to current code it may be best to just sell it to someone who would convert it back to a single family home. It’s a great neighborhood and the comps look great. But it would take three affordable rental units off the market and create a very unaffordable $500k+ single family home. Which is the opposite of what the city council is trying to achieve.
Hopefully they realize that a sensible form of affordable housing is already in place with the existing stock of small unit housing across the city. And making life difficult with ambiguous policies and unreasonable compliance standards is not going to help achieve their stated goals.
It’s in an R2 neighborhood but on the same block there is a 6-unit rental, a 5-unit rental and a 4-unit rental. Those buildings could all be licensed properly though for all I know. I think the fact that other 3+ unit rentals are so close in the R2 zone they may be more likely to allow me to convert. And with the 2040 plan coming I think it’s probably best to wait it out like Bruce advised. But if I had to license it as a 3 unit I’m concerned about what they would make me do to the place to get it up to compliance.
I didn't even ask, do you currently live in the triplex? If not, you are probably right, it would could be difficult if the extra unit in on a 3rd floor. basements units are easier- They legalized a bunch of non conforming/ilIegal units to owner occupants right off the bat but are taking a much more stringent look now. If they do ok non owner occupants, a lot of scrutiny will happen as there is much more ability to manipulate from a landlord versus an owner occupant.
No I don’t live in it. It seems like it would be quite a hassle to do the required updates. Oh well, if it comes to it I have good equity in it so I can always sell it. Thanks for the advice.
If you want to see a place I'm converting to triplex or ADU- let me know- we're working on it now
@Andrew McGregor I just came across this thread. Did you end up making any decisions on this now that the 2040 rule is in place?