Gainesville, GA asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Michigan

Q: If a couple has one of the sets of parents living with them in Michigan, is that considered, generally, “multi family?

Wife and I are living in our daughters and son in laws basement in Gainesville, GA. Son in law has taken a new job in Michigan. Daughter, wife, and I are planning to follow him as soon as Gainesville house is sold. Many of the Michigan houses we’ve looked at online have a basement that a) has or may be converted to living space and/or b) a pole barn/garage that could be converted to a living space to include a living area, sleeping area, kitchenette, and bathroom. Most townships in Michigan seem to have very specific rules about “multi family” housing.

Questions:

1. What is the Michigan definition of “multi family” and do we meet that definition?

2. If so, does that mean my wife and I could not live in either the basement or garage as that would turn the property into a multi family residence?

3. If not, does that mean we COULD live in either the basement or garage?

2 Lawyer Answers
Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi
Answered
  • Real Estate Law Lawyer
  • Howell, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: There is no 'single' answer -- many municipalities have their own rules, and they can vary dramatically.

That said, if you are blood relatives, and you're within the main structure that probably won't qualify as 'multi-family' or 2-family housing unless you set it up like a duplex with separate entrances, cooking spaces, etc.

The 'mother in law' house on the same lot but in a separate 'envelope' in a garage, etc. again is something that each municipality will regulate.

You need to contact a lawyer in the municipality where the house is located to determine what is allowable. I'm sure there will be something that will work, but the rules can be very technical.

-- This answer is offered for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney/client relationship.

I am licensed to practice in Michigan only. Please seek competent local legal help if you feel you need legal advice

David Soble
David Soble
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Real Estate Law Lawyer
  • Farmington Hills, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: A multi-family home is a single building that's set up to accommodate more than one family living separately. The key word is "separately." Multi-family properties are often apartment buildings or duplexes. What your proposing or questioning has to do with the municipal codes. Some communities will not allow for numerous but unrelated occupants to live under one roof, while an extended family has the ability to share a single family property. Check with your municipality before moving in.

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