Unable to rent out single family home rent by the room.

5 Replies

So me and my partner are closing on a single family home that we thought we could rent out by the room but I called the zoning department and they said it’s virtually illegal.

This home was financed with an FHA loan as we planned to house hack it as well.

The property is located in Paterson, NJ.

Are there any other solutions in this situation?

@Jelani Fearon is it flat out illegal to do it or is it illegal to have more than a certain number of unrelated persons in the house? If it’s the unrelated persons rule, you might still be able to have a roommate if only you and your partner are living there.

For example, in my college town of Gainesville FL, zoning says you cannot have more than 3 unrelated parties living in the house. There are tons of rentals in that town breaking that rule bc it’s pretty much unenforceable unless someone calls in a code violation. As a student I lived in 2 such houses with friends. As a landlord, you would still run the risk but it also may not be enforced in your area.

@Jelani Fearon

I rented out by the room before, I didn't even look into it if it was legal or not for the area. Take a look on Facebook marketplace and see if people are doing a room for rent around where you are, that might give you a good idea of what you can do.

@Matt Leber That’s a great question, when I called the zoning department they just flat out told me that renting by the room is illegal. They did not specify if it was the amount of unrelated people, or if it was just flat out illegal, I gotta find that out.

@Kyle Keller Great question, I was talking to my partner and she was saying they do it all of the time in that area no problem. I think the only issue is not being able to use a lease because if we do use a lease, but it’s illegal, the lease would be void in the court of law is what I assume.

I agree with @Kyle Keller . Also check out craigslist and google "rooms for rent (city)". You might also call the zoning department back and speak with someone else. In my area, depending on who you speak with, we get completely different answers to the same question from people who work in same the zoning department