A duplex has two adjoined living units above each or beside each other, separated by a wall or ceiling.
This type of building may be a multifamily property having two families in it.
Typically, it is owned by one person even though it has two living units.
The living units can either be of the same size and configuration or different in size and shape.
Often, most people get confused about how duplexes are run. You just got into a new apartment, which happens to be a duplex.
Of course not, you are not occupying the two units of the duplex. You only occupy one, while a neighbor occupies the other.
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We understand you love to mind your business, and you would not want anyone interfering with your affairs, but can you really get that in a duplex?
Yeah, you might have kept everything private and secured – a barricaded garage, thick drapes hanging over your windows.
But then, what about your mails?
Those are even more sensitive. Who enjoys having his or her mails picked by strangers? This is a duplex – a single building with two units.
The mails go directly to the house, and there is the possibility of your neighbor picking them up before you have the chance to.
It is annoying having your mail read by a stranger.
It is even more annoying receiving a mail that needs urgent attention, but you can’t respond because the mail was sent to your neighbor who picked it up forgot to deliver it.
Putting up two mailboxes with directions seems not to do the trick because the mailmen end up dumping all mails in one box.
Can Duplexes Have Separate Addresses?
Real duplexes have two addresses.
Duplexes are meant to have two addresses because it is considered as two separate apartments in spite of being a single structure. In real estate, a duplex can either be legal or non-legal.
What Is a Legal Duplex?
A legal duplex is a single-family apartment converted according to the laws of the city where it is situated. The rules guiding duplex conversion vary in different cities.
When the owner of a duplex follows these laws (including fire services and others), he is allowed to rent the two units out.
On the other hand, a duplex converted legally has the edge over others when put up for sale. Because of its status, it will attract buyers and investors.
What Is a Non-Legal Duplex?
A duplex is considered non-legal if it was converted without following the city’s law.
For instance, if a building used to be a single-family apartment, but was later converted into a duplex without proper procedure, it is considered non-legal.
For such a building, only one of its living units can be rented out; renting out the two would bring enforcement action from the city.
They might even force you to evict your tenant and remove the kitchen in the second unit.
Normally, the two living units of a duplex are meant to have different addresses.
If yours does not have, it might be that it is a non-legal duplex.
This is why house buyers are always advised to carry out thorough researches on the duplex they want to purchase.
In other words, a duplex with just one address might be an illegally converted property.
If you are a tenant in an illegal duplex, there is nothing much you can do than to talk to your landlord about solving the issue.
Also, If you happened to have bought the duplex and found out it had just one address because it was converted illegally, you would not be able to rent out the second unit because of the status of the building.
You can only get a second address for your duplex if it was legally converted. It is the city you live in that assigns addresses.
The city assigns an address for your unit, then submit it to the postal service in your city. Duplexes are usually given two addresses for mailing purposes.
If it happens that the duplex you live in has just one address, you can get a new address for your own living unit. How?
Getting a New Address
Like we said earlier, the procedures for issue as this is different depending on the state you live in.
For instance, in United States, you can visit the United States Postal Service, request for a change of address form, fill out the address you want on the form, and submit to any of the postal workers behind the counter.
In five days, you will be notified with a confirmation letter sent to your new address.
Of course, all these would be done after research has been done as regards the status of your duplex.
In some cases, the United States Postal Service might refer you to your local postmaster at the post office to make the request.
Having separate addresses for your duplex does not mean coming up with a completely different name for each of the units. It is a single structure.
What you need to differentiate the two addresses is either attaching a letter or number to the address, like units A and B or R-1 and R-2.
The reason for having two addresses for a duplex is for mailing purposes.
Having separate mailing addresses for each of the living units would mean having two mailboxes.
But often, letter carriers find it difficult to deliver into two boxes.
Despite separate addresses and separate mailboxes for each of the living units, most mail carriers still end up dumping the mails in one box; they hardly take time to sort them out into the mailbox they belong to.
Duplexes have one address for their lots but two mailing addresses to ensure that each occupant has his or her privacy.
While there are so many duplexes that do not go by this rule, it is not totally acceptable.
If you are living in a duplex with just one mailbox, you should contact the landlord or take steps to get an additional box so that each living unit can have a mail address each.