Dear Barry, I'm embarrassed to confess that I broke your cardinal rule: I bought a property without having it inspected, and now the chickens have come home to roost. The building was originally a single-family home, but the seller divided it into three separate living units by adding two kitchens and a few partition walls. The conversion was nearly completed and the property seemed to be in acceptable condition. All that remained was some patch-up work in the new kitchens. But now the building department says the conversion is illegal and I can only have one kitchen in the building. The trouble is, I need three rents to cover the mortgage. What can I do? – Bernard Dear Bernard, Bypassing a pre-purchase home inspection has placed you in a position for which there may be no satisfactory solution. The building department is the final arbiter of what is and what is not a legal and acceptable use for a building in a given area. If the property is specifically zoned as a single-fam...
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