Splitting one sfh to two units, how to deal with utilities?

We are looking into a SFH that has the perfect plan that we can split it into two units and make an investment property.
Has anyone dealt with such situation, how would we get the utilities(electricity,gas, water, trash) lines and meters split. Is this even doable?

Personally I wouldn’t want to do that. I’d just look into buying a duet instead. A SFH is a SFH for a reason.

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No, but you should consider whether or not you have the proper zoning to create 2 units.

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Well, I have done such a thing as you have suggested (knock on wood, working out swell so far…). Since this is my own home, what I did is simply charge the smaller unit, say the inlaw, a flat rent fee, all inclusive no nickel and diming from the landlord. I include use of laundry, cable, internet and utilities. People like it that way and I like the money. Win, win…

If renting out both spaces, I suppose you would allocate by number of people per household. We do this in our Chinatown flats where the building has one water meter. We take a set monthly percentage charge (base fees) and allocate accordingly to the apartments. No one complains because all are fairly even (age, etc) and no one has a distinct advantage like owning a W/D while someone else doesn’t.

Good luck!

Oh ok so you own a lot of Chinatown flats too in addition to the 3 houses… now I see why you wouldn’t mind getting rid of your Oakland units… :wink:

I went to the city (Fremont) website and found that the zoning is R-1-6. Looks like it’s a single family.

Family owned building (singular) and I do have siblings…

I drive a CRX because I have to…:grinning:

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If zoning allows 2 units, you have to draw up plans to convert the use of the property to a duplex, then they will allow you to request the utility companies to install additional meters. New meters cost a ton these days, so beware of that and make sure you understand the costs before committing to it.

If you want the property to remain an SFH but only used as 2 units, you can install submeters after the PG&E meters then separate the pipes/wires after the submeters. I haven’t seen anyone install submeters for water, so probably the cost doesn’t usually justify the benefits. For trash you can always order additional bins by paying extra.

I read an article last year that Santa Monica passed a law to require landlords to install water submeters for each unit in order to properly incentivize tenants to conserve water, and it caused a lot of backlash among landlords. The same policy is probably on its way here now that it looks like we will be back in drought soon.

Although I am selling, I was looking into doing the water submetering but frankly couldn’t find any contractor or local company that specializes in it. EBMD was/is giving a rebate if one chooses to do submetering but I guess it can be still expensive to do (depending on how your plumbing is laid out).

Thanks! This post is super informative. Didn’t know we can leave it as SFH and still rent it out as 2 units. By doing 2 sub meters will we get 2 bills from PG & E or calculate by ourselves?

My one caveat would be though to make sure everything is conforming to building codes and get all necessary permits like I did.

The submeters will be the owner’s personal property. You have to read the submeters yourself and bill the tenants accordingly, and if the submeter for some reason stops working you have to foot the bill to fix it.

An SFH is supposed to only have one kitchen by code. If you try to get a permit with a plan that shows 2 kitchens on it, it won’t be approved. I hope you are aware of this already. :slight_smile:

But the definition of kitchen is a bit loose. If you like to put kitchen cabinets in your oversized hallway because you like the ambiance oozing from the quartz countertop, it’s a personal choice. Usually it’s defined by the stove, so your second kitchen cannot have a traditional stove. But nowadays there are many countertop small-ish appliances you can equip your second kitchen with (all electrical though, no gas).

Do you know the rationale?

What about rich people who have a servant’s kitchen because the help can’t cook their food in the main kitchen.

Rule doesn’t apply to billionaires :rofl: Rules are for keeping rank and file in place :roll_eyes:

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The rationale is the R-1 zoning. I think the whole point of R-1 zone is to prevent over-crowding, but if two families willingly cram together into an SFH they can’t stop you. They just make it as painful as they can by forcing you to share a kitchen.

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As you pointed out, nowadays there are so many electrical counter top cooking appliances :slight_smile: Sound like an old rule :slight_smile: that is no longer effective. Nowadays, I don’t use the stove much…

Rice cooker for rice.
Electrical kettle for boiling water.
Instant Pot for everything else.

It’s an old rule, but the reason for the lack of a new rule is because they can’t think of a new rule that would discourage sharing. Maybe the only effective way would be to enforce a max of 80A panel. That will really hurt, but it’s going to hurt everyone.

Bingo! My Sunset home is built just as you stated. I have a separate maid’s quarters that is fully legal and has a separate entrance with fully enclosed private bathroom. Essentially a decent sized studio apartment with high enough ceilings for the help back in the days and the help cooked upstairs only. I did not add a stove but it rents out fine…