Can we build another house on my side yard?



Q: The large side yard on my property is more than large enough to accommodate another house. I want to hand over part of my property to my son so that he can build his house there. Do I have to get permission from my mortgage lender to transfer the vacant land? Is there anything else i need to do? – Gregg

A: If you live in a community association, you probably cannot do so due to the various restrictions placed on the whole community. Assuming you don’t, you’ll have to jump through multiple hoops.

You’ve thought of the first one, getting approval from your mortgage lender. You will need to contact your mortgage lender and explain the situation to them. Even if this side of your property is just vacant land, it still has value. Your lender may want you to pay off your loan enough that the value of your remaining property is greater than the remaining loan amount.

If you skip this step and don’t get approval from your lender, you will have violated your mortgage agreement and the lender could take enforcement action, including foreclosure. Another reason you have to write off your existing mortgage on the property you are giving your son is that the lender giving him a construction loan will want his loan to be in the first lien position.

You will need to get approval from the municipality and county in which you live. The remaining two lots should both be large enough to meet zoning requirements, and you will also need to ensure that no deed restrictions affect the minimum lot size in your community. . You will need to get approval from the real estate appraiser to divide your land into two separate legal parcels. To do this, you will likely need a detailed survey and title search.

Before you build an additional home on a property with an existing home, you need to get the blessing of your mortgage lender and your local government.

Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, commercial litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Florida. He is president of the real estate section of the Broward County Bar Association and co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He consults frequently on general Florida real estate issues and trends with various companies across the country. Send him questions online at or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.


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