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Subject: "single family use" home in HOA-no roommates? FL
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DanaA
(Florida)

Posts:117


09/26/2007 3:54 PM  
Our FL HOA President says that since our CCRs state that our homes are for single family residential use only, no owner can have a roommate living with them, and wants a letter sent to these owners to evict their roommate....... We are under 720 statutes and I looked and I think he is not correct. Pres doesn't know if the roommates pay rent to their roommate/owner or not. He is particularly upset because one owner has three roommates living with them, and he wants them gone, too. Legal?
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


09/26/2007 4:24 PM  
DanaA,
I would interpret "single family residential use," as allowing one family to use the residence as they see fit as long as it is not a business and a business license is not issued. What if you have multi owners to a home, not uncommon. Bet your HOA president is going to have a tough timee getting his wishes pushed through and sure to bring a law suit for for any number of reasons. I would imagine you have certain restrictions about noise, parking, offensive conduct that ccould ne used to pressure a home owner. Better get a new President if he is hung up on that. More important that the owner contribute to the betterment of the community, now, IMHO, i would like to see all those owners that sit back and watch be given eviction notices . It just occurred to me, the president might have to evict half the association if you can't have an "significant other."
DonnaS
(Tennessee)

Posts:5671


09/26/2007 4:50 PM  

Dana,
Lots of luck on this one because it is splitting hairs as to the interpretation of what is a "single family". I think that your President should consider giving up on this one. Better to make sure that anyone living in the unit follows the rules and regs and is not disruptive to the community and obeying the parking rules because you would have a hard time getting this one enforced and to court. As long as they are not running a motel,and have cousins of cousins living there, you might just watch and monitor the situation.
Some associations limit the number of persons in a unit by the number of bedrooms in the house. That would need an amendment in your Docs.
NancyD1
(Florida)

Posts:447


09/26/2007 5:00 PM  
Posted By DanaA on 09/26/2007 3:54 PM
Our FL HOA President says that since our CCRs state that our homes are for single family residential use only, no owner can have a roommate living with them, and wants a letter sent to these owners to evict their roommate....... We are under 720 statutes and I looked and I think he is not correct. Pres doesn't know if the roommates pay rent to their roommate/owner or not. He is particularly upset because one owner has three roommates living with them, and he wants them gone, too. Legal?





Does this mean I can finally throw my husband out? "Single family residential" is only one, right?
This was one for the "funniest jokes of the day"! I wish you had posted this before I had the day I had, it would have made it a lot easier.LOL

I had to. I can't stop laughing.

I think is't about time the President's wife threw him out!
DonnaS
(Tennessee)

Posts:5671


09/26/2007 5:16 PM  

Nancy,
You must have REALLY had a bad day. The documents committee that I chair had a request last year from the B.O.D, to write a definition as to what the Protective Covenant meant in "single Family residence". All we could do is to quote the definition from the covenants because that definition is what the developer meant.
Now, we then went to the dictionary but the attorney argued that-- "that is not what the developer meant". So we just quoted the definition in the covenant intro. By the way, What does the Attorney mean? We never know as it is never relayed to us in plain English. (except you)

"THE DWELLING UNITS SHALL BE FOR SINGLE FAMILY USE ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL OCCUPATION OR ACTIVITY MAY BE CARRIED ON (Assoc. name) A FAMILY IS DEFINED TO MEAN ANY NUMBER OF PERSONS RELATED BY BLOOD, MARRAGE OR ADOPTION OR NOT MORE THAT TWO-(2) UNRELATED PERSONS LIVING AS A SINGLE HOUSEKEEPING UNIT".
MicheleD
(Kentucky)

Posts:4491


09/26/2007 8:11 PM  
They would have a tough time pushing this one through.

I'm sure local zoning and / or state definition of what is allowable in terms of non-related family members as being "single-family."

Besides, it's very likely that the "developer" didn't have ANY specific intention on the CC&R but more likely included the restriction as pretty much a local zoning requirement.

For the most part, ordinances don't specify the legal relationship between residents, but focus more closely on the minimum square footage of living space per person, and a formula that includes sleeping areas, bathroom sizes, etc, and accounts for gender allowances. (IE, minimum sleeping arrangements for children of different genders, such that separate bedrooms may be required depending on ages, etc).

So 4 people (adults or adults/children mix) could live in a single-family house and not violate any restrictions or zoning ordinances if the formula is satisfied.

Say two single parents with one child each of the same sex could not be restricted from living in a single house with 3 bedrooms (one for each adult and one for both children), but single parents with one child each of a diff sex could not live in that same house, since the boy and girl would each have to have a separate bedroom and the adults would have to as well.

Trying to inflict CC&R definitions more stringent than local zoning ordinances in terms of occupancy could find your HOA in a bit of a legal bind.

JohnC10
(Arizona)

Posts:106


09/26/2007 8:18 PM  
Maybe you could argue that technically everyone is blood relative if you go back to the beginning of human kind. lol

If you can rent wouldn't the fair housing act come into play? ...with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling, that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
NancyD1
(Florida)

Posts:447


09/27/2007 5:16 AM  
A "single family residence" real estate definition is: a residential structure designed to include one structure. It does not specify how many people can live in the structure.

Look to your doc's, it may state how many residents' per unit are allowed with the amount of bedrooms or per square foot.
RW1


Posts:0


09/28/2007 4:08 AM  
Here's Florida court ruling regarding the issue. It may give you some insight on how a judge MAY rule in your case.

http://www.ccfj.net/courtdecFLCommHome.html
PaulM
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:1347


09/28/2007 5:27 AM  
DanaA:
When I read a posting like this one, I somehow get the feeling that there is more going on than what is posted. A single family residence is as it's stated--for a single family, and the definition given from a poster is a good one. Of course, the definition of 'family' now embraces same-sex partners, etc., so we have to move from the traditional sense of family.

There are many reasons for an HOA community to be deemed for 'single family use', some of which depend on local codes re sq. footage of living space, on-street parking & accessibility of other parking areas, etc. The poster states "...Pres doesn't know if the roommates pay rent to their roommate/owner or not. He is particularly upset because one owner has three roommates living with them, and he wants them gone, too." If this 'person' is charging rent, then they are not using the unit as a single family residence, but as an 'investment'. It is apparent the poster doesn't know this for a fact.

It is easy to imagine issues which can arise out of unit owners having 'other people' sharing their unit vs. an owner having their partner (married or not) living with them. If there is 'renting of rooms' going on as a 'business', then that has to be addressed as such and according to the documents.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


09/28/2007 5:27 AM  
RW1,
So we conclude all handicap issues and fair housing issues are probably exceptions. If I remember that didn't apply in this case. This seems to be about whether one President of a Home Owners Association has the power to restrict residents in a unit cover under a HOA CC&R's. I believe if I was in that community I would petition the Board (with support) that any action by the president would have to be action outside the Boards authority and no association funds should be used to adjudicate the issue.
This guy is far off base and needs a reminder he works for the council of homeowners, not the other way around.
DanaA
(Florida)

Posts:117


10/01/2007 7:54 AM  
Robert, I think you are right about our President, and I am very concerned as to what can be done. When questioned about his decision, Pres said specifically that he has every right to evict the roommate as President of the HOA, and President directed the property management company to go ahead and send a "vacate" notice. When I questioned how a President could do this without the full BOD being informed about it, and giving their approval, Pres told me that the "officers" of the BOD can act without BOD notification (we have 9 BOD, 4 of which are officer) because only officers run the day to day business of the HOA. Pres said that he is getting tired of the BOD members trying to get involved in the day to day operations because that is not their duty as a BOD. In his expert opionion, the non-officer BOD's only duty is to give input on "major decisions" like the budget. He has asked our BOD Secretary to quit copying BOD members on emails regarding HOA issues..... He has been Pres for three years, we have lots of new BOD members this year, and some of us are challenging his decisions. Can the BOD make this President inform them what he is doing?
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:5067


10/01/2007 8:35 AM  
Dana, yes the BOD can reign in this President. Pass a resolution at a Board meeting that all actions, except emergencies, shall be approved by the Board and that all communications via email be sent to all Board members. The resolution can include any other items the BOD approves which might be needed to make this President act appropriately.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


10/01/2007 9:03 AM  
Dana,
Answer to your last question: Absolutely! The President was (Should be) elected by the Board, therefore serves at the Boards pleasure and can be voted out by thoes on the board holding a voting position. The Board is elected by the council (Owners with vote) and your documents normally will spell out how to recall all or part of a Board, therefore the Board serves at the pleasure of the entire voters.

Now a note about where I think your president is coming from. Probably in your documents under Presidents duties there may be a statement about the president acting like the CEO of a corporation, how most HOA's are chartered. A CEO of a corporation usually doesn't involved himself in day to day stuff for one thing. He expects his Board to run the show and his officers to do hands on stuff. I have seen this transition in our HOA and it worked great only because they had the good sense to turn the whole operation over to a paid General Manager that knows what to do and how to do it. This is expensive and if you get the right GM and your HOA can afford it, peace will reign in the Kingdom. I suspect half our members don't even know the presidents or boards names, but all know the GM. It can be a good thing. But, again, under any circumstanes, the President serves the Board.

RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


10/01/2007 1:10 PM  
Here is an outline of the Presidents duties in a HOA. with a General Manager.




(a) Presides at all meetings of the Board of Directors and all meetings of the Members and has the right and privilege to vote as any other Member of the Board of Directors.



(b) Sees that orders and resolutions of the Board of Directors are carried out and signs all leases, mortgages, deeds, promissory notes and other written instruments with the Secretary of the Association.



(c) Supervises the preparation of the agenda for all meetings of the Board of Directors and the Members.



(d) Performs or delegates to a committee of the Board of Directors an annual review of the performance of the General Manager and reports such findings to the Board of Directors in an executive session.



(e) Acts as the contact for the Board of Directors with the General Manager.



(f) Performs such other customary duties incident to the office of President.




NOTE: I don't see anything there that supports him making any decisions to a one on one problem. So, I expect the Board is intimadated by him, or don't want the hazzle, which amounts to the same thing.
NancyD1
(Florida)

Posts:447


10/01/2007 3:42 PM  
Posted By DanaA on 10/01/2007 7:54 AM
Robert, I think you are right about our President, and I am very concerned as to what can be done. When questioned about his decision, Pres said specifically that he has every right to evict the roommate as President of the HOA, and President directed the property management company to go ahead and send a "vacate" notice. When I questioned how a President could do this without the full BOD being informed about it, and giving their approval, Pres told me that the "officers" of the BOD can act without BOD notification (we have 9 BOD, 4 of which are officer) because only officers run the day to day business of the HOA. Pres said that he is getting tired of the BOD members trying to get involved in the day to day operations because that is not their duty as a BOD. In his expert opionion, the non-officer BOD's only duty is to give input on "major decisions" like the budget. He has asked our BOD Secretary to quit copying BOD members on emails regarding HOA issues..... He has been Pres for three years, we have lots of new BOD members this year, and some of us are challenging his decisions. Can the BOD make this President inform them what he is doing?





Dana,

Please send me your e-mail address. This is a very serious situation on I would prefer to e-mail you in person. I set up an e-mail account as [email protected] ASAP
MicheleS3
(Florida)

Posts:30


10/11/2007 10:05 AM  
I can understand the single family use dilemma. In my subdivision, which is located just a few miles from a college, we have several rental houses which appear to be the new dorms. 4-8 kids to a house! 4 - 8 vehicles parked all over the place. Not to mention parties, parties, parties. ( I know I was a college kid once, but I guess I was a bookworm!) We have contacted our code enforcement and they basically told us unless we could get everyone to agree to DNA testing to determine if they were related we should move on to something else.
MikeS1


Posts:0


10/11/2007 1:11 PM  
Michele - What a cop out on the part of your municipality?! Where do you live so I know not to retire there? If I were you, I'd have to go over someone's head here. Zoning laws are tough to enforce but it has to be done. Real Estate prices here in Northern Virginia and immigration issues have things heated up here, so we have lots of homes where there are flagrant occupancy violations but the munis are too chicken to enforce the law. I pay exorbinant taxes so that the county will not enforce the law because they afraid of being sued or afraid of being called a racist?! I've had enough. The law says that no more than 4 unrelated people can live in one single family home and I submit that this is reasonable. Oh, you've got my blood pressure going now.
SteveC4
(Florida)

Posts:154


10/11/2007 8:23 PM  
DanaA ; You need to vote off your HOA President...some HOA members think who they..possible being in the HOA got to there heads...LOL!
RonaldW
(South Carolina)

Posts:901


10/13/2007 6:21 AM  
Posted By MicheleS3 on 10/11/2007 10:05 AM
I can understand the single family use dilemma. In my subdivision, which is located just a few miles from a college, we have several rental houses which appear to be the new dorms. 4-8 kids to a house! 4 - 8 vehicles parked all over the place. Not to mention parties, parties, parties. ( I know I was a college kid once, but I guess I was a bookworm!) We have contacted our code enforcement and they basically told us unless we could get everyone to agree to DNA testing to determine if they were related we should move on to something else.




If your CC&Rs address parking or the number of vehicles that may be parked in the driveway or that vehicles may not be parked on the lawns, this is one way to limit the number of people living in a home.

You can also address the noise through your CC&Rs.

Ron
SC
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


10/13/2007 7:06 AM  
To all,
This issue has to be resolved withe the owner of the property. You should have clear rules about rental property and one of them should be that any corrective action or charges has to be made against the owner. If any action by any resident of the association warrents immediate correction that action can be instigated by any aggreived owner. The Board should take action to immediately resolve the problem. Immediate action would not be parking on the grass, but could well be for excessive noise distrubing a resident/owner. If a renter was being bothered by (for instance) noise, resolution of the problem has to be an owners action. If the renter contacted the board, the boards response should be directed to the owner of the property making the noise. This is a very difficult problem and each HOA should have clear steps for resolution and those steps must provide a clause on enforcement and specifiy it is the owner of the property that bears responsibility and fine action.

As most know, this enforcement action against renters is as old as the hills. I suspect the HOA's that can sucessfully deal with the problem are the ones that places the onus directly on the Owners of the property.
It is unfair to require any owner (except in a dire condition) to go to war with any renters on the property. They have to abide by the same rules as owners do, therefore, violations are a board matter, and the Board should provide. In fact the Board is charged to provide. It also is clear in most documents that the Board obligation is to the owners and in most cases, if the manager or staff has to go to any undue expense in solving renters problems, they can charge expenses to the owner of the residence. Unless specified and detailed in your documents the association is not in the rental property business. It can become a financial matter and is probably misuse of association funds. It is in my condo and also in the HOA I also pay dues to.
RonaldW
(South Carolina)

Posts:901


10/13/2007 7:55 AM  
Robert, are you responding to the original issue or the one of several students living in a rental house?

Ron
SC
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


10/13/2007 8:26 AM  
Ron,
Not necessarily, more a general comment on the fact, that this issue with renters, in general, should be handled in house and there should be documents in the CC&R's that have enforcement measures. Also to point out in most cases the rentals are not the responsibility of the regime as much as the owners are responsible to the board for the actions on their property.
RonaldW
(South Carolina)

Posts:901


10/13/2007 9:16 AM  
Posted By RobertR1 on 10/13/2007 8:26 AM
Ron,
............... Also to point out in most cases the rentals are not the responsibility of the regime as much as the owners are responsible to the board for the actions on their property.




I didn't think there was any disagreement on that issue. The owner of the property is a member of the association and is responsible to the association.

If an association has common areas (say a pool) and the owners right to use the common areas is transfered to the tenants, the association can control the actions of the tenants in the common areas and take action (such as banning them from the common areas) as necessary.

Ron
SC
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


10/13/2007 4:10 PM  
RonW,
Not sure why we are going back and forth on this. I agree and have stated in the event the circumstances warrant an agrieved owner or the manager or the Board can all take action on any violation. That could be notifying a board member and reguest immediate action be taken if warranted. It does not include entering a neighbors unit and telling him how to correct what ever you feel is improper. If I recall right I believe there was some suggestion that an owner goes to the renter to solve a problem. You may start out neighbor to neighbor but if they don't agree with your conclusions, they are not going to do as you suggest and the problem will continue. I believe this is the Boards responsibility and between the Board and the owner of the property. Of course the Association can control the Common areas, and speaking of condo, there are no areas other than common areas. The may be limited to one owners use (Balcony) or a shared limited common area, say a storage area for a number of units, but all are common, such as a parking space (limited if assigned by Board). All of what I know I have learned from someone else. When the owners rights are assigned to the renter (lease)this makes the renter no different, as far as obeying the covenants, as the owner. The renter lives under the same rules. Yes, the association can control the actions of anyone residing in the condominium and to large extent in an HOA, but there are differences. I am not sure about banning them from the common areas or specific common areas, unless the association is consider a third party to the rental document. But the asssociation can attempt to contact the owner and demand that the lease be terminated by the owner. If the owner don't terminate the lease or immediately correct the problem, then he can be fined heavily and often. I repeat there is nothing in these actions that are any different to either party, renter or owner, guest, friend, child or relative. For the most part the documents that control are enforceable. An owner or renter can do what ever it is they do in their units, but suppose a fire breaks out? Then, if deemed necessary, any unit can be entered, but if there is a domestic dispute and it spills over and distrubes the neighbor, the board has to make the call on entering the apartment. The manager or agrieved owner can go to the door and request the distrubance stop, if it don't stop it is again the Boards responsibility which means, ultimately the owner is going to have to control the siyuation. I know, there are exceptions to all this but that just proves the rules. Our covenants have specific clauses the address owner to owner business and owner to renters business. They are not perfect but they do help[ the process along.
StanM
(Florida)

Posts:34


10/14/2007 10:41 AM  
Unless the codes in your town or county define "Single Family Dwelling" there is virtually nothing you or the Board can do without violating the Fair Housing Standards Act.
LindaD1
(Florida)

Posts:7


10/14/2007 5:59 PM  
Dana,
I was reading today in the Florida handbook on HOA's that if the owner is in residence, he can rent out rooms in his home. Florida statute 720, sec 7.8 states "...residential purposes restriction does not prohibit parcel owners from renting rooms as an adult congregate living facility when the owner of the parcel is in occupancy."

Linda
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


10/14/2007 6:14 PM  
Linda,
I suspect the operative pharse is "Adult congregate living facility" which suggests a state recognized group home under certain restrictions. I doubt very much yout board can stop that. But that is not the same as running a boarding house. I would look for the legal idebtification of the phrase.
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