How to Determine if a Property Is a Multi-Dwelling Unit in New Jersey

by John S. Galt ; Updated July 27, 2017
Multi-unit dwellings are easily determined with the help of zoning ordinances.

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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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).

Step 3

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.

About the Author

John S. Galt has been a creative writer since 1995 and worked as a freelance writer since 2009. He covers topics such as economics, science, real estate and marketing. Galt holds a Doctor of Business Administration in marketing from Harvard University, as well as a state real-estate agency license.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images