Multi-dwelling units, also known as multi-family properties, represent a class of buildings that allow for two or more separate households to live within a single building. They are often used by investors to generate rental income. Only specifically designated buildings can be used as multi-dwelling units. Within New Jersey, rules for a building's usage (known as zoning ordinances) are referenced in order to determine which buildings can legally be used as a multi-dwelling units.
Call your city or town hall and ask for the location of the county building department. The building department is often housed within the city or town hall.
Visit the building department and request a copy of a zoning map for the area in which the property you are researching is located.. This map is divided into color-coded sections, with each section briefly explaining how buildings within that area can be used (also known as zoning).
Locate the property on the zoning map. Use the map's color codes to determine if the property in question can be used as a multi-unit dwelling.
Multi-dwelling units in New Jersey are commonly zoned as R-2 (multi-family attached housing), R-3 (multi-family mid-rise housing) and R-4 (multi-family high-rise housing). However, buildings zoned as NC (neighborhood commercial) or C (commercial) may also be eligible for use as a multi-family property.
Some individual properties have a different zoning ordinance than the area where they are located. When in doubt, ask a civil servant at the building department.They can confirm zoning of the property in question.