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Modular Rental Unit On Neighbor's Lot


By Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin

Summary: The writer's neighbor is adding a modular rental unit to their lot. Ilyce and Sam suggest talking to the county building and zoning departments about whether there are any land use restrictions in place for the community.

Q: We live in a rural area of platted lots. The "subdivision" has some covenants attached.

Someone is placing a modular rental unit adjacent to our lot. Modular units are permitted. There is no square footage or rental restrictions, but there are covenants concerning business or commercial ventures, and rules about how lots are divided.

We feel that the value of our home will suffer with this rental nearby.
(article continues below useful links)

The owner plans to use the modular home on his lot as a rental for his "family." Is there anything that we can do to prevent them from setting up the modular unit? We want to protect our property's value.

A: As an owner in a subdivision with certain covenants, you as well as your neighbor are bound by these restrictions. You should probably talk to a real estate attorney to discuss the various restrictions to determine if your neighbor's particular use violates the covenants.

Commonly, property covenants restrict the use of each lot to one residence per lot. But other covenants permit multiple residences for each lot. If your covenants require only one residence per lot, it would appear that placing a modular home on the property might violate the covenants.

Keep in mind that if the covenants are either ambiguous or were drafted to deal with other issues not related to your issue, you'll have to find out if your community has any other land use restrictions. Some unincorporated areas have some zoning rules that may be helpful to your situation.

Talk to your county building and zoning departments about whether there are any land use restrictions in place for your rural community.

If there are no restrictions on the land use, it may be difficult for you to stop your neighbor's use on his property.

You might also want to consult an attorney who specializes in land use and zoning to find out if there are any other options open to you.

Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Ilyce R. Glink’s latest book is 50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Sell Your Home Faster and For More Money In Any Market. If you have questions for them, write: Real Estate Matters Syndicate, PO Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022 or contact them through Ilyce’s website




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