Real Estate Q&A
The covenants in our neighborhood restrict occupancy to one family unit only. Our new neighbors, who moved in this summer, have a college age son who still lives at home and to our knowledge is their only child. Over the past 60 days they have added three other college age men who come and go and are obviously living there. There are multiple cars coming and going at all hours and cars parked on the street and filling the driveway. We have complained to our home owners association, but to our knowledge they have ignored our inquiry and requests to have them move out. Any advice?
— George and Janet, Grand Junction
George and Janet,
This can be a very complicated issue. You are right to begin your inquiry with the home owners association (HOA) and making an attempt to get the HOA to enforce the covenants of your subdivision, if in fact there are restrictions that pertain to your situation. If there are defined restrictions in the covenants of your HOA, then this may be the easiest route to a resolution. If you have to go outside of your HOA and covenants for resolution, then definitions of a household become much more nebulous. After much research there are things to consider and it does depend on whether you live in the city or county.
If you live in the county, there are definitions of a household. A) One or more persons related by blood, marriage, adoption, or legal guardianship, including foster children, living together in a dwelling unit; or B) A group of not more than five (5) persons not related by blood, marriage, adoption or legal guardianship living together in a dwelling unit; or C) Two unrelated persons and their children living together in a dwelling unit.
If you are living in the city, then they also have definitions of a household, family and boarding house. A) A family is defined as any number of related persons living together within a single dwelling unit as a single housekeeping unit, but not more than four (4) persons who are unrelated by blood, marriage, guardianship or adoption. B) A household is defined as a family living together in a single dwelling unit, with common access to and common use of all living and eating areas and all areas and facilities for the preparation and serving of food within the dwelling unit. C) Boarding/Rooming house is defined as containing a single dwelling unit and three or more rooms where lodging is provided, with or without meals for compensation. Compensation may include money, services or other things of value.
To qualify as a boarding house it would take a zoning of R8 and then a change of use permit issued by the city to meet requirements. If the zoning is not R8 or greater then a boarding house should be out of the picture. The next step is to determine if the definitions of a household or family mean there is the potential of additional “non related” persons living in the dwelling IN ADDITION to the defined family already living there? This is where it becomes potentially more nebulous and left for interpretation.
The bottom line is to work through your HOA and if that does not provide a successful outcome, then contact your attorney to help you weed through the legal code of the city or county and explore what options you may have. Should you open up the can, be careful what you ask for. This is potentially going to be a difficult battle. Finding a friendly option with your neighbor is probably the first step. See if you find a compromise that will work for you both, I guarantee that would work best. I hope this helps.
The Kimbrough Team
RE/MAX 4000, Inc