What is the difference between having roommates and operating a illegal boarding house?

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What is the difference between having roommates and operating a illegal boarding house?

My girlfriend rents my 1 family, 4 bedroom home. She lives in a studio on the 3rd floor. The other bedrooms are on the 2nd floor. She rents the bedrooms to roommates who share the expenses utilities, cleaning supplies etc.; they share the whole house. I received a visit from 2 code enforcement people who that said I was running an illegal boarding house. I explained the situation, and even invited them to inspect the house, to which they declined. The next thing I know I got an court citation stating that I was operating an illegal boarding house.

Asked on April 28, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Ok there are a lot of little issues going on here and a lot of factors that need to be addressed.  First, I am assuming that the house - and really the area zoning - is for a single family dwelling, correct?  Then one of the issues that needs to be looked at is if the "occupants" interact as a single family unit.  Unrelated people living together per se does not in and of itself prove otherwise.  But if you and your girlfriend, who I am assuming is the only person on the lease with the owner, are acting as landlords for profit here, you could be teetering the legal line on the matter.  I would strongly suggest that you seek some guidance from an attorney in your area.  Good luck. 


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