Can I live in a commercially zoned property?

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Question:

Can I live in a commercially zoned property?

Answer:

Cities are not always laid out in ways that necessarily make sense nor are they zoned in such a way that you can always say one rule always apply in a particular case. Because of this, it has given rise to the question can you live in a comercial zoned home? The answer of course has more than one potential answer.

To begin with, laws that govern residential and commercial property vary according to jurisdiction. This means that before making any assumptions regarding living in a commercially zoned property, you are wisest to first consult with a lawyer who knows and understands the real estate laws of your community. Doing so will save you from being evicted or fined for violating zoning regulations.

One school of thought to take into account is the difference in standards applied to residential and commercial property. Commercial property isn't always inspected for the same level of safety for living conditions as are residential properties, meaning they could be a dangerous place to reside. Health concerns and fire safety are two of the major differences in the inspections conducted on commercial and residential properties. Choosing to live illegally in a commercially zoned building may save a person money, but if they are caught breaking the law in this fashion it could turn around to cost them a lot more.

There are some potential exceptions to consider about this topic. For example, if you were to purchase a residence in an area that later became zoned for commercial enterprises, you will be able to continue living there. The same holds true if you purchase a business which includes a living residence above it; you should be able to remain living there as well. 

Your best move is to check with your local planning office and see what laws are in place. Some jurisdictions are going to allow you to live in a commercially zoned property without any questions asked; others will out and out prohibit it; others still will demand that you acquire a mixed use permit.

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