I was asked recently by a friend to explain the regulations regarding garages in the City of Coral Gables.

Actually, the regulations are very simple.  All single-family homes must have a garage, porte-cochere, or carport.  (There may be some houses that date from the 1020’s that don’t, but this is the law now.)  So what if I build a garage and later I want to finish it and convert it into an interior space?

According to Elizabeth Gonzalez of the City of Coral Gables Lead Zoning Technician, the only way a resident would be allowed to legally build out the interiors of a garage would be if there were a second garage, a carport, or a porte-cochere in addition to the garage the resident wants to enclose.

Example where the garage in the back could be enclosed as long as other building and zoning requirements are met.

What’s important about this information?  Don’t go into a deal to buy a house in Coral Gables assuming that you can convert the existing garage into another bedroom or family room.  If you see a house in Coral Gables without a garage, ask why it doesn’t.  Ms. Gonzalez stated unequivocally that once a resident is caught with an illegally finished garage, it cannot be legalized. This illegal condition cannot be permitted.

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