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ROOMMATE LAWS

I am the lease holder for a house in a residential area in Middletown N.Y. I am being harrassed by the building dept. saying I am running an illegal boarding house. I have one roommate. How many can I have? It is a three bedroom house. No padlocks, shared kitchen and bath….shared house period. Thank you.

Asked on May 27, 2009 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

This is an interesting question, and the law might differ from one state to another, but there is a limit to the government's power here.  You need to talk to an experienced lawyer in your area, one who will research the cases on constitutional law on this issue.

At some point, the government's public interest is less than the individual's right to be left alone, and some states' courts have ruled that having one roommate, in a three-bedroom house, is not a boarding house.


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