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Can a landlord ask me multiple times for my roommate and I to convert our room to look like a single?

Highland Park, NJ |

The past two times that the fire inspector has come along to inspect the house, the landlord has requested that my roommate and myself convert our room to make it look like a single. We complied both times because we didn't think much of it. Now however, a building inspector is coming by and she wants us to convert our room again. I'm fed up of changing my entire room around and plan on telling her that I will not be doing it. Is what she is requesting from us legal?

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Attorney answers 4


Without knowing more facts on this case and what kind of an apartment this is, I am assuming that your landlord may not be allowed to have that many people living there. She is trying to register the apartment with the town. You may want to consult with an attorney and find out if this apartment is legal or not.


Good Afternoon,

To me, this sounds like the beginning of an illegal apartment or a zoning-density violation. NJ Landlord-Tenant law takes illegal apartments very seriously. If your landlord is cited by building or zoning department for a density or change of use violation, you may be entitled to six times your monthly rent as a "relocation benefit." At this point, you might consider refusing to do anything and see how this plays out. Keep your eyes out for any citations.

Best of luck with your situation.


i concur with my colleagues. Please also note that, if your LL is attempting to use the unit in a manner at variance with local zoning laws, your refusal to play along cannot be used against you as a reason for eviction (if it gets to that point.)

The foregoing is not legal advice, and nothing in the foregoing shall be deemed to create an attorney client relationship. If you feel you need to speak with an attorney regarding your issue, it is recommended that you contact an attorney with expertise in your area of inquiry. The information related above is purely for informational purposes, and should not be acted upon without speaking with qualified counsel familiar with you specific situation and the laws related thereto.


Agree with the prior answers, but want to stick-in my two cents. Why would you help your landlord trick the fire and building inspectors? Aren't you concerned about fire hazards?

Disclaimer: (1) I may be guessing and/or not even licensed in your state; (2) We have not established an attorney-client relationship; (3) Sometimes you get what you pay for; and (4) If you want to send me a gift, my favorite color is orange.