Apartments for Low Income

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Duplex

August 21, 2013

Maria asks…

While living in a duplex, what are the pros and cons to having someone you know live in the upstairs.?

Basically, I live downstairs in a duplex my mom owns. We are looking for a tenant for the upstairs. What are the pros and cons for letting someone I know or that I am semi-friends with move in as opposed to a stranger.
Well the tenant in question is my boyfriend’s best friend’s girlfriend, so that causes even more opportunities for friction and problems.

P.S. We are all in our early to mid 20s.

Administrator answers:

There are no pros

Charles asks…

Do i have to be owner occupant of a duplex if I finance it insured conventional?

Im looking at a few duplexes and they are all occupied by renters. I would like to finance using FHA 5% down and occupy half of the home, but they require you occupy the residence within 60 days.

However i am willing to provide 10% down Insured Conventional if i can continue to rent out both sides until the lease is up for one side.


Administrator answers:

FHA will make a loan on a 1-4 unit building, but you would need to occupy one of the units to qualify. You still need only a 3.5% down payment.

You would need to terminate the tenancy of one of the renters as soon as you take ownership or ask the current owner to do it prior to you take ownership.

Ruth asks…

Duplex outlet (for dishwasher & disposer) under sink does not work except for disposer?

I just recently replaced the duplex outlet thinking that loose connection was the problem why both dishwasher & disposer stopped working suddenly. Disposer got back working after outlet replacement but tried to plug-in new dishwasher but won’t run a cycle. So I bought a circuit tester, lights up with other outlet in the house but does not light up on problematic outlet… 2nd test done using multi-meter and no voltage shows… but still no problem with garbage disposer. What could be the problem? Really a mystery to me. would like to have an informed decision before hiring an electrician.

Administrator answers:

A loose connection may have been the problem but where was it? When the disposal is powered it works so you have power and neutral at the receptacle with the switch on. The problem then is isolated to the lack of power to the receptacle for the dishwasher. For the basic wiring of this circuit the power is always on for one part of the receptacle for the dishwasher and the brass tab is removed on the hot side only (black wire side) and the other part of the receptacle is switched. From your description a wire is in the wrong position in this circuit or the wrong wire was installed in the circuit to the wrong position.
You now must determine where the power cable is located and then the wiring can be analyzed and the problem resolved. Good luck to you.
Since the disposal and the dishwasher are seldom operated at the same time a single circuit is adequate for them.

Sandy asks…

How do HVAC systems in a duplex work?

I’m considering buying a house that has, at some point in the past, been split into a duplex. The upstairs has its own electricity, and there’s a kitchen up there. However, the house has been used as a single family home for at least the last ten years, and in that time there have been a new furnace and A/C unit installed. I assume that these are set up to work for the whole house. I am planning on renovating it and making it back into two apartments.

I’ve never rented, so I don’t know how these things usually work. Would the upstairs and downstairs apartments typically have separate controls for temperature, and each pay their own bill, or would it be more common to have a single system for the whole house, set at a mutually-agreed temperature, and each tenant pays half?

I’m trying to figure out if I’ll have to replace the furnace and A/C units with two separate systems for upstairs and downstairs.

Note: I’m in Ontario, Canada.

Administrator answers:

Each renter should absolutely have their own system. Not even married people can agree on what temperature to maintain (!) and “splitting the bill” will not be seen as fair.

Obviously, you will need to map out the path of the duct work.

You will probably need the help of a contractor to convert into 2 systems.

James asks…

What can I do about a carbon monoxide issue in my duplex?

I recently moved into a duplex. When a gas technician came out to turn our service on, he refused to light the pilots because it was not up to code. He told us there was carbon monoxide build up, improper ventilation, default parts, and he would not light it until it was fixed. I went down to the office and talked to the owner, and she told me that all of the houses never meet code because they are so old. She sent out an employee to light up the pilots. They still haven’t fixed any of the problems.
I feel like our place is unsafe, especially since I have a small child.
Does anyone know what I can do about this situation?
I live in Texas.

Administrator answers:

Go to the nearest fire house and tell the person in charge your story

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