The real estate boom with soaring high prices has certainly made home ownership difficult for many people to realize this part of the American dream in our community. Home ownership has been for many buyers to purchase multi-family homes. However, in our community what is represented as a multi-family home may not be one.
The issue is becoming all too common at the meetings of the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). A month does not pass that the new owners of these multi-family homes are appearing before ZBA because all of the units are not legal. As a matter of fact, just at a last month’s meeting, the ZBA heard about such a case where the single family home had been converted to a two-family in the 1930s.
Everett has always been a welcoming home to those seeking to start their climb up the social and economic ladder. The ZBA commissioners are doing their part to help these owners with the zoning problems of their new homes. However, a better solution is to address the problem before one buys.
A simple solution could be to have real estate attorneys do more research on the permits for these houses by checking not only the Assessor’s Office but with the Building Department for a certificate of occupancy for each unit.
Until that is common, the ZBA will continue to have to straighten out these messes from the distant past.