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Subject: Definition of "Single Family"
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DaveB3
(California)

Posts:1


06/05/2009 4:42 PM  
I live in an association of about 300 homes in California. Our CC&Rs state that each unit shall be occupied by a "single family", without defining the term. Recently a resident home owner has temporarily "taken in" a dozen or so young people during the summer months, and has expected that these people will have unfettered access to all the association's amenities. He claims they are his "adopted grandchildren". Have any readers in California had similar problems? If there is no legal definition of either "family" or "single family", how has your association handled this type of problem? Thanks in advance.
EvaM1
(Florida)

Posts:190


06/05/2009 6:06 PM  
Dave,

Of course these kids are his adopted grandchildren. I'd call the town or you fire department; give them the number of bedrooms and approximate size of each bedroom and ask what the maximum occupancy is?

In this case, the ‘single family occupancy’ restriction may not even apply, since these kids are only ‘guests’, right? But the maximum occupancy does apply.

Otherwise, the term ‘single family occupancy’ has caused a lot of bad blood. A number of court cases on this issue were filed. In one case, a unit was occupied by a group of students and the Association lost. The judge ruled that the single family was too ambiguous and since the students shared all expenses they lived like a single family. Or something to that effect. We are faced with a similar problem and need to define 'the single family occupancy’ in our covenants more accurately as well.
MicheleD
(Kentucky)

Posts:4491


06/05/2009 7:15 PM  
Dave, I think in you read your documents carefully they will actually state that the homes are single-family dwellings, and the reason that single-family isn't defined is because it's not for the TYPE of family it's for the TYPE of dwelling, meaning that the "home" cannot be used for multiple renters such as in hotels, motels, sororities, etc.

It doesn't make any difference the "formal" relationship between the people living there. Blood, marriage, non-marriage, grandparents, nieces, whatever.

Your documents probably read something similar to this:

ARTICLE II - USE RESTRICTIONS

Section 1. Primary Use Restriction. No lot shall be used except for private single family residential purposes.

-----------

If you search this forum you will find several threads that address this.

In Kentucky, the "single-family" designation is defined in local ordinances and statutes that deal with ZONING and Planning and Design.

Here is how it's defined:

Single-Family Residential Purposes: One or more persons occupying premises and living as one housekeeping unit using one kitchen, and distinguished from a group occupying a boarding and lodging house, fraternity or sorority house, a club, hotel, or motel.

Now, having said all that, your local zoning enforcement CAN specify the maximum number of individuals (married, blood-related, guardians or not) who can live per square foot and per number of bathrooms, bedrooms, et.

But that is up to them to deal with. The HOA isn't a governmental agency and isn't the police over what goes on inside the walls of another's home.

DJ1
(Ontario)

Posts:798


06/05/2009 7:22 PM  
What would Octomom say in this case, 14 kids and a mom, but still, a single family!
EvaM1
(Florida)

Posts:190


06/05/2009 7:34 PM  

Michele,
yes, every state has there own single family definition but unless people who read those covenants understand what it means, the definition is useless. Mary e-mailed me this definition

FL Statute: Definition of single-family residence From Section 62-1

Single-family residence means and includes a detached single-family dwelling designed or intended for occupancy by one person or by one family.

Can we enforce it?
MicheleD
(Kentucky)

Posts:4491


06/05/2009 8:41 PM  
Can you enforce what?

That a single-family premises not be used as a boarding house?

It's not yours to enforce.

It's the local zoning board's responsibility.

The home that was built is in compliance. That's all the docs address. That the home that is built is a single-family residence.

If someone's loading it up, it's the zoning board's jurisdiction, not yours.

JohnB7
(South Carolina)

Posts:176


06/06/2009 4:51 AM  
..... ONE kitchen only

most codes have a maximum occupancy per bedroom and/or square foot

my HOA documents specify no more than 2 per bedroom, ie. 3 b/r home = 6 occupants max.
CharlesH9
(Michigan)

Posts:123


06/06/2009 5:34 AM  
I would thing that's a slippery slope there with dictating occupancy per bedroom.
MaryA1


Posts:0


06/06/2009 7:07 AM  
I agree with Michele regarding her interpretation of "single family residence". Eva posted the info I gave pertaining to FL's definition. AZ's definition is quite different: "A single family residence, or single family home, is the easiest to define in Arizona. Single family residences are detached homes, usually with both a front and back yard, driveway, and attached carport or garage."

Different states may have different difinitions but I believe the majority will be based on the "type" of dwelling not so much the number of people who can live in it. When in doubt call your local planning & zoning department; they will definitely know. That's what I did many years ago when the question first came up for me.

EvaM1
(Florida)

Posts:190


06/06/2009 7:39 AM  
living as one housekeeping unit using one kitchen,
___

I do not wish to argue the ‘one kitchen provision’. Many of my friends have two kitchens in their homes. In fact in my previous house I installed a second kitchen on the lower level and cooked there when we entertained a larger group of people.
So, having two kitchens in my house would disqualify me and my husband as being a single family? May be I am missing something?
MaryA1


Posts:0


06/06/2009 7:58 AM  
Eva,

I've heard that's a Polish tradition and that you'd be hard pressed to find a Polish home w/o 2 kitchens -- one upstairs and the other downstairs. To me, it's just twice the work -- cleaning two stove tops and two ovens, UGH!!!
EvaM1
(Florida)

Posts:190


06/06/2009 8:17 AM  
Mary,

not sure about the Polish tradition but let me say that I’d rather have people contained in an informal family room than running all over the house and cleaning that. But I know what you mean. Also, many family homes are advertised with so called ‘mother-in-law-suite.’ That usually implies a room with a kitchen in a single family home. Does such home qualify as a single family residence?
JohnB7
(South Carolina)

Posts:176


06/06/2009 8:20 AM  
Posted By CharlesH9 on 06/06/2009 5:34 AM
I would thing that's a slippery slope there with dictating occupancy per bedroom.




Nope.....
Does not dictate occupancy PER bedroom, merely total occupancy based on number OF bedrooms.

Has to do with design considerations of CID as a whole re: amenities useage, pool cap., clubhouse cap. for meetings, functions, etc.
JohnB7
(South Carolina)

Posts:176


06/06/2009 8:21 AM  
Posted By EvaM1 on 06/06/2009 8:17 AM
Mary,

not sure about the Polish tradition but let me say that I’d rather have people contained in an informal family room than running all over the house and cleaning that. But I know what you mean. Also, many family homes are advertised with so called ‘mother-in-law-suite.’ That usually implies a room with a kitchen in a single family home. Does such home qualify as a single family residence?




NO, it is no longer a single family residence .... and probably no CofO either.
MaryA1


Posts:0


06/06/2009 8:28 AM  
John,

What is "CofO"? It's still early here!
JohnB7
(South Carolina)

Posts:176


06/06/2009 8:28 AM  
Posted By EvaM1 on 06/06/2009 7:39 AM
living as one housekeeping unit using one kitchen,
___

I do not wish to argue the ‘one kitchen provision’. Many of my friends have two kitchens in their homes. In fact in my previous house I installed a second kitchen on the lower level and cooked there when we entertained a larger group of people.
So, having two kitchens in my house would disqualify me and my husband as being a single family? May be I am missing something?




Unless you got a building permit and installed the second kitchen in a code compliant fashion it is probably a MAJOR violation and may even void your C of O.

Kitchens are EXTREMELY dificult to add to an existing structure as they require safety and framing issues re: ventilation, egress, fireproofing, location, utilities, plumbing, lighting, smoke detection, etc, etc, etc............................

The second kitchen does not disqualify you and you husband from being a 'single family' it merely disqualifies you structure from being a single family home.

Why don't you notify the building dept. and your insurance co. of the existance of the second kitchen???!!!......................................
KevinK7
(Florida)

Posts:1343


06/06/2009 8:48 AM  
I would think that trying to create any rule trying to define a "single family" is dangerous. As I had posted in other related subjects, my Board had stated that "multiple non-related people" could not reside in a "single family" home...

If that is the case, then only brothers and sisters, parents and children, etc. would be allowed, and their rules would equate to discrimination. I wold love to see a judge uphold a case for a HOA against a homosexual couple, unmarried pagans, or a grandfather and his adopted grandchildren.

I would just accept that this person's adopted grandchildren are residents of your neighborhood for the summer.

I would think that limiting the occupancy of how many people I can have in each room of my home would not be allowed... I was reviewing building code and municipal code for reference of occupancy limits, and I believe for regular residential homes in Florida, there is a limit of 16 people for the entire home.
EvaM1
(Florida)

Posts:190


06/06/2009 9:04 AM  
John,
I no longer live in that house but yes we got all the permits and the kitchen was installed by a licensed contractor. It was a small kitchen to serve a specific purpose. I have read the following and I quote:
‘ 2 kitchens are pretty common on the east coast. Jews who keep Kosher will often have a dairy kitchen and a meat kitchen. don't think you'll find anywhere in the Code that prohibits it..’
But, again, some states – or cities - may prohibit two kitchens. I simply don’t know.
EvaM1
(Florida)

Posts:190


06/06/2009 9:26 AM  
I would think that limiting the occupancy of how many people I can have in each room of my home would not be allowed... I was reviewing building code and municipal code for reference of occupancy limits, and I believe for regular residential homes in Florida, there is a limit of 16 people for the entire home.
__
Kevin, please can you please give me the link to the building code in ref to the maximum occupancy if you still have it? I believe, ‘the maximum occupancy’ is regulated by the city and not a state or a county. The max occupancy is regulated by the square footage per unit or bedrooms, not sure. The local fire department has that data as well.
Also, our town has a hefty penalty fee/per day if the maximum occupancy is not complied with. I think it is something like $150-$260/day. I need to look into it next week.
MicheleD
(Kentucky)

Posts:4491


06/06/2009 10:15 AM  
Posted By EvaM1 on 06/06/2009 7:39 AM
living as one housekeeping unit using one kitchen,
___

I do not wish to argue the ‘one kitchen provision’. Many of my friends have two kitchens in their homes. In fact in my previous house I installed a second kitchen on the lower level and cooked there when we entertained a larger group of people.
So, having two kitchens in my house would disqualify me and my husband as being a single family? May be I am missing something?




Yes, you are missing something.

MicheleD
(Kentucky)

Posts:4491


06/06/2009 10:16 AM  
Posted By EvaM1 on 06/06/2009 8:17 AM
Mary,

not sure about the Polish tradition but let me say that I’d rather have people contained in an informal family room than running all over the house and cleaning that. But I know what you mean. Also, many family homes are advertised with so called ‘mother-in-law-suite.’ That usually implies a room with a kitchen in a single family home. Does such home qualify as a single family residence?




Yes.

The point is that a single-family residence is one that is not broken down into further units to sub-let.
JohnB7
(South Carolina)

Posts:176


06/06/2009 4:28 PM  
Posted By MaryA1 on 06/06/2009 8:28 AM
John,

What is "CofO"? It's still early here!




Certificate of Occupancy (signed off/approved building permit stating structure is minimally safe for human occupancy)
EvaM1
(Florida)

Posts:190


06/06/2009 5:16 PM  
Certificate of Occupancy (signed off/approved building permit stating structure is minimally safe for human occupancy)..JOhn

__
John, OK, but what does it have to do with a number of kitchens in the house? Can we stay on the subject?
KevinK7
(Florida)

Posts:1343


06/07/2009 10:05 AM  
http://ecodes.citation.com/cgi-exe/cpage.dll?pg=x&rp=/nonindx/ST/fl/st/b400v07/index.htm&sid=2009060710020028268&aph=0&cid=iccf&ref=/nonindx/ST/fl/index.htm&uid=icsc0418&clrA=005596&clrV=005596&clrX=005596&aph=0&qy=joint+reinforcement&hlc=FFFF00&srchm=1

I hope this works... if not, here is part of the main page:

http://www.floridabuilding.org/BCISOld/bc/default.asp

I was reviewing occupancy and definitions of single family residence a while back, I had only gotten square footage definitions, but the building code was the only thing to mention a number of people.
EvaM1
(Florida)

Posts:190


06/07/2009 10:47 AM  
Mary,
yes. If a unit is subdivided into two units then it is no longer a single family residence and it becomes a multi-family residence. We agree on that.
I just did not see how two kitchens in a single family residence have anything to do with a definition of ‘single family residence’ as defined by Michelle:

‘One or more persons occupying premises and living as one housekeeping unit using one kitchen‘

To me, this statement sounds like some court ruling issued in a specific case. But, again, it may be a law in Kentucky. Don't know.
EvaM1
(Florida)

Posts:190


06/07/2009 10:49 AM  
Kevin,

thanks. I will chek with the town and the fire dept next week as well.
MicheleD
(Kentucky)

Posts:4491


06/07/2009 1:05 PM  
Posted By EvaM1 on 06/07/2009 10:47 AM
Mary,
yes. If a unit is subdivided into two units then it is no longer a single family residence and it becomes a multi-family residence. We agree on that.
I just did not see how two kitchens in a single family residence have anything to do with a definition of ‘single family residence’ as defined by Michelle:

‘One or more persons occupying premises and living as one housekeeping unit using one kitchen‘

To me, this statement sounds like some court ruling issued in a specific case. But, again, it may be a law in Kentucky. Don't know.




It is Kentucky law.

There are more detailed "codes" that get into the number of people allowed per square footage, etc., but that is the "definition" in the beginning of the Planning and Zoning documents.
EvaM1
(Florida)

Posts:190


06/07/2009 1:26 PM  
Michelle,

I guess these defintions are regulated by counties in Kentucky not a state? Well here is one interesting definition and the link as well. I did not look if adopted or not..

http://www.bgky.org/releases_detail.php?id=1080

__

Bowling Green, KY-- While the Planning Commission approved more than eighty text amendments to the Warren County Zoning Ordinance at its regular meeting last night, an amendment redefining the word “family” was not among them. Four options were presented as alternatives to the current language, but ultimately, the Planning Commission opted to leave the definition untouched.

The ordinance defines “family” as follows:
“a person living alone, or any of the following groups living together as a single non-profit housekeeping unit sharing common living, sleeping, cooking and eating facilities:

a. any number of people related by blood, marriage, adoption, guardianship or other duly-authorized custodial relationship;

b. two unrelated people;

c. two unrelated people and any children related to either of them;

d. not more than eight people living in a residential care facility.”

On short notice, residents from four different neighborhoods attended the meeting to inquire about the proposed changes and offer testimony.

The current language specifying no more than two unrelated people was originally included at the urging of Cedar Ridge Area Neighborhood Association and other neighborhoods experiencing loud parties, noise and parking problems they attribute to conversion of single family residences to rental property for college students and other communal living type arrangements.

EvaM1
(Florida)

Posts:190


06/07/2009 1:59 PM  
Here is a very detailed definition of 'family'. I think this one covers it all. For those interested here is the link. If you can't open it I will copy the text.. (one page.)

http://www.ci.urbana.il.us/Urbana/City_Council/Agendas/Archives/Agendas_2005/09-12-2005/family_definition.pdf


MicheleD
(Kentucky)

Posts:4491


06/07/2009 5:30 PM  
That's my point, exactly, Eva.

The zoning jurisdiction is about as local as it gets.

So each zoning district will be able to tell you what a single-family residence is.

The point is that it's about the DWELLING more than it is about the value-laden relationship between the individuals who live there.

MaryA1


Posts:0


06/08/2009 7:46 AM  
Michele,

Exactly. And that's why I specifically suggested calling the planing & zoning dept of the city/county to ask exactly what "single-family residence" means. They will know because they are the ones who write the standards!!
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