Find the right lawyer now

Variance Lawyers

Find a Local Real Estate Lawyer near You

What is a Variance?

A variance is a request to deviate from current zoning requirements. If granted, it permits the owner to use his land in a way that is ordinarily not permitted by the zoning ordinance. Variances do not change active zoning laws, but rather waive a certain requirement of the zoning ordinance.

What Are Some Situations Where You Would Request A Variance?

Examples where a variance might apply include building a gazebo in residential back yard, adding a second story in a one-story zone, or requesting that the board of adjustment slightly reduce the setback requirements in order to fit a building on an odd-shaped lot.

How Do I Prove A Case For A Variance?

If you want to apply for a variance to change the permitted use of your land, some of the things you might have to prove are:

  • The new use of the property preserves the appearance and ambience of neighboring property.
  • The new use is applicable only to your unique piece of property and not to those surrounding it.
  • The existing restrictions create a serious hardship on you.  In determining exactly what constitutes a hardship, courts will  look at the circumstances and general objectives of zoning in your neighborhood, the nature of the change, its effect on adjacent neighbors, and any practical difficulty in using the property.

Do I Need A Real Estate Attorney To Obtain A Variance?

If you need a variance for your property and do not want to risk getting turned down, you will likely need the assistance of an attorney familiar with local zoning laws and practices. It may also be necessary to obtain an architect or other expert to assist the attorney - something that your attorney can help you with.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 12-22-2014 08:29 AM PST

Law Library Disclaimer
  • No fee to present your case
  • Choose from lawyers in your area
  • A 100% confidential service
What is LegalMatch?

We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.