Know the facts! We’ve been fielding a lot of questions about marketing apartments located in commercial buildings, correct number of units in a multifamily building and number of bedrooms in a single family home despite some that are not legally recognized by the municipality. As was mentioned at the Legal breakfast last month, it is up to every REALTOR to have (1) expertise in what you are listing; (2) be sure that what you are advertising (= REPRESENTING) fits with city/town public record data / permits / zoning on file, and (3) you do your due diligence to make sure these representations are accurate. If you are not well educated on commercial / multifamily real estate or hitting road blocks on information, you must solicit assistance from your broker, legal counsel or an agent who is an expert in that field
We would also caution that a lot of towns are beginning to adopt ADU regulations (Accessory Dwelling Units) with rights to rent and limiting STR (Short Term rentals) and all of those rules vary greatly town by town – you should be making sure anyone who asks can be directed to the facts at the present time for any given location in the county and is not reliant on your statements. This is true especially as new regulations emerge. Have you talked about this at your office meeting and developed a standard way of handling these inquires?
* NOTE: Quinlan v Clasby ruling (although REALTORS are not considered zoning or usage experts, they should do our homework to avoid potential issues, when, or if, possible) The case entitled DeWolfe v. Hingham Centre, Ltd., et al., 10-P-473, Mass. App. Ct., 2011 held broker liable for misclassifying a property and informing the purchaser that they could purchase the property as a two-family residence and later legally convert it to a hair salon due to its commercial zoning.