How to permit a non-conforming unit


Agent: “I want to pitch this property to the Mid-City clients. 2 out of the 3 units will be delivered vacant at COE and there is some upside in the rents. The only problem is that the 3rd unit is unpermitted. How hard is it to legalize a rental unit retroactively?”


“Depends on three factors:

1. Does the zoning permit three units?

2. Is there enough parking for three units?

3. Was the construction work to make the third unit done to code or is it janky?

If the answer to all three questions is “yes”, it’s pretty easy to legalize… cost is probably $20k and time is probably 2-3 months.
If 1 or 2 is “no”, then it’s not worth trying.
If 1 and 2 are “yes”, but 3 is “no”, then the cost is $20k + the cost of fixing the construction issues and the timing is still probably 2-3 months.
It’s a pretty painful process, so it’s probably only a project for someone who has time / money.