Neighbor dislikes that I have a roommate,

User Forum Topic
Submitted by Josh on September 7, 2011 - 7:13pm

I and my wife lives in a four bedroom house. We have no children. After buying the house with 20% down and had some home improvements done we are broke. My wife thought that we would have a roommate to get some needed rainy day cash. I rented out one room for $600/month to a college student. Last week, my neighbor found out about the roommate and laughed at me. His attitude was very condescending. I am a little bit shocked by his reaction. We have a 2000 sq ft home for three people so it is not too crowded. Why do you think he acted that way? Do you get annoyed if your neighbors have roommates?

Submitted by EconProf on September 7, 2011 - 7:29pm.

Ask him if he would rather have a huge extended family living there, with four cars parked in the street.

Submitted by Blogstar on September 7, 2011 - 7:38pm.

Don't worry about what he thinks because it's none of his business.

Submitted by barnaby33 on September 7, 2011 - 8:10pm.

Or worry but know that its as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.
Josh

Submitted by earlyretirement on September 7, 2011 - 8:42pm.

Josh,

I agree with the others. Don't even worry about what this ignorant neighbor thinks. I think it makes great sense if you don't mind having someone live with you.

My neighbor many years ago was fairly well to do and did the same thing. Not only for the income but she traveled quite a bit and she always loved that someone trustworthy was there to watch the house.

She did set a few ground rules. She only rented to University students or recent university graduates and only rented to females.

I was actually single at the time so I loved it as she always seemed to find the cutest girls! Ha, ha. Seriously though, it worked out great for her. I think she was charging something like $800 a month and this was back about ten years ago.

She always rented to really great students and the students got to live in a great area in an amazing house. My neighbor always traveled with the extra money.

Her kids were all in college, she was divorced and I think part of it was she was lonely as well so the company was great. But I always thought it was smart.

Don't waste your time worrying what other people think about the situation. Definitely it's a good plan.

Me personally I could never do it. Even when I was single and living alone and had a big house I always liked my privacy but I think it's a great option for people that have the space and need the income just as long as you are carefully screening the people that will live with you and you also set some guidelines and rules for them.

Submitted by jpinpb on September 7, 2011 - 9:54pm.

I think you should have a wild party to welcome your new tenant and give your neighbor something to think about!

Okay. J/K. I think it's a smart move and your neighbor is an idiot. Don't let it get to you. You may end up getting the last laugh if this economy keeps going south.

Submitted by UCGal on September 8, 2011 - 6:22am.

I had roommates in my house in Philly and my house in WA state. Helped make the house affordable so I could afford to travel and have fun.

3 former neighbors in my current hood have rented rooms to students. It's fine and makes financial sense.

Josh, your neibir is either an idiot or jealous of your cash stream.

Submitted by jpinpb on September 8, 2011 - 7:30am.

UCGal wrote:
Josh, your neibir is either an idiot or jealous of your cash stream.

Or anti-social. I became good friends w/some of my roommates. One came to my wedding. I don't know why there would be such a stigma to renting a room to someone. People are so weird.

Submitted by harvey on September 8, 2011 - 7:36am.

Maybe he's upset that you didn't choose the black guy.

http://piggington.com/am_i_a_racist

Submitted by EconProf on September 8, 2011 - 7:52am.

We are likely to see a lot more roomate situations due to a confluence of events:
1. Ongoing recession
2. Overproduction of McMansions during the boom
3. Rising rents even as apt. construction is way down
Builders are already scaling back new house sizes as they try to match the new austerity tastes of today's homebuyers.
Could the next response be houses with one first floor bedroom with its own entrance and large and private bathroom? This would enable the "roomate" and homeowner to have privacy and not even interact with each other, especially if the bedroom had a bar (wink, wink, kitchenette).

Submitted by UCGal on September 8, 2011 - 9:11am.

jpinpb wrote:
UCGal wrote:
Josh, your neibir is either an idiot or jealous of your cash stream.

Or anti-social. I became good friends w/some of my roommates. One came to my wedding. I don't know why there would be such a stigma to renting a room to someone. People are so weird.

OK - I can spell... I swear I can. Damn the auto correct and virtual kepyad typing on my xoom.

neibir = neighbor.

(and auto correct HATES my younger son's name. Very annoying.)

JP - I met one of your roommates. She was very nice.

Submitted by konakai on September 8, 2011 - 9:12am.

You could mention that its a free country with a smile :)

Submitted by Ren on September 8, 2011 - 10:09am.

I'm going with the "idiot" theory, and adding "snob" to it. I'm guessing he has a flashy car, too. Probably leased.

We have kids and like our privacy, or we would probably do it, too. $600/month is awesome passive income, and you get to supervise your tenant, unlike a rental property.

We do plan to take it to the next level when we buy/build our forever house - a casita with its own entrance, living area, and kitchen/laundry. The MIL will live there for a while, but once she's gone, it will easily knock $1,400 off the mortgage every month.

Submitted by UCGal on September 8, 2011 - 3:17pm.

Ren wrote:

We do plan to take it to the next level when we buy/build our forever house - a casita with its own entrance, living area, and kitchen/laundry. The MIL will live there for a while, but once she's gone, it will easily knock $1,400 off the mortgage every month.

That's our plan for our casita once the in-laws aren't using it anymore. Hopefully they'll live long enough that our mortgage will be paid off - but it will be a nice income stream for our retirement.

Submitted by Josh on September 8, 2011 - 3:23pm.

Thanks. I don't worry about it any more. I think my neighbor is a little pissed off b/c my tenant sometimes park in "his spot". That is a parking spot right between my driveway and his driveway and he thinks that belongs to him. My tenant is a student who leaves the house at 7am and returns at 7 pm. she is very clean, quiet and most importantly doesn't eat at home. Yes, $600 without tax is nice.

Submitted by CA renter on September 9, 2011 - 2:12am.

EconProf wrote:
We are likely to see a lot more roomate situations due to a confluence of events:
1. Ongoing recession
2. Overproduction of McMansions during the boom
3. Rising rents even as apt. construction is way down
Builders are already scaling back new house sizes as they try to match the new austerity tastes of today's homebuyers.
Could the next response be houses with one first floor bedroom with its own entrance and large and private bathroom? This would enable the "roomate" and homeowner to have privacy and not even interact with each other, especially if the bedroom had a bar (wink, wink, kitchenette).

I don't know why this isn't mandated as "affordable housing" in new developments. It's more practical for most families to have their grown kids or elderly parents live near home than it is to have them far away in some apartment or nursing home. This way, instead of clustering apartments that meet the "affordable housing" requirements -- often leading to congested areas with higher crime, etc. -- the renters can be spread out where the landlords would be more inclined to maintain the properties better (because they live next door), and they can help friends or family members who need an affordable place to live. It would greatly reduce the creation of new "slums."

Submitted by CA renter on September 9, 2011 - 2:14am.

UCGal wrote:
I had roommates in my house in Philly and my house in WA state. Helped make the house affordable so I could afford to travel and have fun.

3 former neighbors in my current hood have rented rooms to students. It's fine and makes financial sense.

Josh, your neibir is either an idiot or jealous of your cash stream.

Exactly.

I've always had roommates, and would do so again if we had an extra room. It's great having extra people in the house IF you get along well, IMHO.

Submitted by briansd1 on September 9, 2011 - 7:38am.

Josh wrote:
Thanks. I don't worry about it any more. I think my neighbor is a little pissed off b/c my tenant sometimes park in "his spot". That is a parking spot right between my driveway and his driveway and he thinks that belongs to him. My tenant is a student who leaves the house at 7am and returns at 7 pm. she is very clean, quiet and most importantly doesn't eat at home. Yes, $600 without tax is nice.

Does parking in front "belong" to the homeowner? That's oftentimes a source of contention.

I would be careful if the neighbor is trigger happy. You never know what might happen to the car or worse.

Submitted by sdrealtor on September 9, 2011 - 10:21am.

CA renter wrote:
EconProf wrote:
We are likely to see a lot more roomate situations due to a confluence of events:
1. Ongoing recession
2. Overproduction of McMansions during the boom
3. Rising rents even as apt. construction is way down
Builders are already scaling back new house sizes as they try to match the new austerity tastes of today's homebuyers.
Could the next response be houses with one first floor bedroom with its own entrance and large and private bathroom? This would enable the "roomate" and homeowner to have privacy and not even interact with each other, especially if the bedroom had a bar (wink, wink, kitchenette).

I don't know why this isn't mandated as "affordable housing" in new developments. It's more practical for most families to have their grown kids or elderly parents live near home than it is to have them far away in some apartment or nursing home. This way, instead of clustering apartments that meet the "affordable housing" requirements -- often leading to congested areas with higher crime, etc. -- the renters can be spread out where the landlords would be more inclined to maintain the properties better (because they live next door), and they can help friends or family members who need an affordable place to live. It would greatly reduce the creation of new "slums."

MOst of the new developments in Carlsbad mandated casita units in a number of units to meet affordable housing guidelines. Its already being done here.

Submitted by CA renter on September 9, 2011 - 2:53pm.

sdrealtor wrote:

MOst of the new developments in Carlsbad mandated casita units in a number of units to meet affordable housing guidelines. Its already being done here.

Awesome. I've seen a *few* homes with casitas (not in most developments from what I've seen), but they usually didn't have kitchens or laundry facilities. Not only that, but they didn't even have any kind of access to the main house, which makes these units truly useless -- you can't use them for living quarters, and you can't use them as part of your house.

Submitted by bearishgurl on September 9, 2011 - 5:56pm.

CA renter wrote:
sdrealtor wrote:

MOst of the new developments in Carlsbad mandated casita units in a number of units to meet affordable housing guidelines. Its already being done here.

Awesome. I've seen a *few* homes with casitas (not in most developments from what I've seen), but they usually didn't have kitchens or laundry facilities. Not only that, but they didn't even have any kind of access to the main house, which makes these units truly useless -- you can't use them for living quarters, and you can't use them as part of your house.

CAR, you must know that a mere "cursory check" on the internet reveals there are plenty of opportunities for low-income tenants (and even potential homebuyers) in Carlsbad. See:

http://www.carlsbadca.gov/services/depar...

... as to low income guidelines (as percentage of SD County median income)

http://www.carlsbadca.gov/services/depar...

as to “extremely low-income” qualified complexes

http://www.carlsbadca.gov/services/depar...

and, as to new condos for purchase under low-income guidelines (if selling less than 15 yrs out, City will have say on maximum asking price)

http://www.sandiegobythesea.com/mulberry...

And none of these links even mention all the owners of SFRs in Carlsbad who will accept a Section 8 voucher.

Submitted by paramount on September 10, 2011 - 12:21am.

The issue is that you have turned your house into a boardinghouse/dorm house.

You can't afford to live there.

Also, legality aside in reality it is more than rude to park in front of your neighbors house generally speaking.

Submitted by CA renter on September 10, 2011 - 1:07am.

bearishgurl wrote:
CA renter wrote:
sdrealtor wrote:

MOst of the new developments in Carlsbad mandated casita units in a number of units to meet affordable housing guidelines. Its already being done here.

Awesome. I've seen a *few* homes with casitas (not in most developments from what I've seen), but they usually didn't have kitchens or laundry facilities. Not only that, but they didn't even have any kind of access to the main house, which makes these units truly useless -- you can't use them for living quarters, and you can't use them as part of your house.

CAR, you must know that a mere "cursory check" on the internet reveals there are plenty of opportunities for low-income tenants (and even potential homebuyers) in Carlsbad. See:

http://www.carlsbadca.gov/services/depar...

... as to low income guidelines (as percentage of SD County median income)

http://www.carlsbadca.gov/services/depar...

as to “extremely low-income” qualified complexes

http://www.carlsbadca.gov/services/depar...

and, as to new condos for purchase under low-income guidelines (if selling less than 15 yrs out, City will have say on maximum asking price)

http://www.sandiegobythesea.com/mulberry...

And none of these links even mention all the owners of SFRs in Carlsbad who will accept a Section 8 voucher.

You're missing my point about not concentrating all the low-income housing like that. I'm sure there are some SFH landlords in CBD who will take Section 8 tenants, but in all the years I've lived here, I've never seen one. They don't need Section 8 because our rental market is very strong, and they can just as easily find truly qualified renters who are just about as reliable as Section 8, but who won't damage their homes.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on September 10, 2011 - 7:41am.

Damn I used to park in front of the nighbors all the time. We had too many cars. No wonder they hated us.

Submitted by Josh on September 10, 2011 - 7:41am.

I wrote that the parking spot is between the two driveways. I can afford to live here, but like most young adult couples after buying a house, I don't have a lot of cash. We can save around $10K a year after 401Ks and everything but we want to build up the rainy day cash fund a little faster. I can understand the issue of turning my house into a boarding house but a 2000 sq ft home for three people is hardly crowded. We are all very quiet people.

paramount wrote:
The issue is that you have turned your house into a boardinghouse/dorm house.

You can't afford to live there.

Also, legality aside in reality it is more than rude to park in front of your neighbors house generally speaking.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on September 10, 2011 - 10:23am.

If you have a veggie garden in the front does that mean u cannot afford it? If you drink cheap gon does that mean u can't afford it. If you don't use a/c does that mean u can't afford it. If u wear cheap suits off eBay made in china does that mean u can't afford it?

Or does it mean yer just thrifty.

what's the point of having parking spots if they're not used.

Submitted by bearishgurl on September 10, 2011 - 11:53am.

EconProf wrote:
We are likely to see a lot more roomate situations due to a confluence of events:
1. Ongoing recession
2. Overproduction of McMansions during the boom
3. Rising rents even as apt. construction is way down
Builders are already scaling back new house sizes as they try to match the new austerity tastes of today's homebuyers.
Could the next response be houses with one first floor bedroom with its own entrance and large and private bathroom? This would enable the "roomate" and homeowner to have privacy and not even interact with each other, especially if the bedroom had a bar (wink, wink, kitchenette).

EconProf, I agree that we will see more of these housing situations in the coming years, due to lack of jobs for all in SD and a higher percentage of resident senior citizens in the population.

There are already a few recent developments in South County which have a setup like this as having extended family (older adults) live with a family of children (for childcare and other reasons) is common here. These homes are typically 4-6 bdrms with 1-2 first-floor bdrm/bath combos, one with a separate entrance door leading out of the side or rear of house. Even though there may be only a bar sink (wink, wink) located in a bedroom (fmr MBR suite?), what's to stop a family from installing minimal "Ikea-like" cabinets and a small countertop/bar sink? There is no law against putting a small frig, micro, toaster oven, coffeemaker and hotplate in a bdrm "unit" like this to make it self sufficient. I've even seen a garbage disposer installed under the bar sink! I recently purchased as a gift a 5/7/9 inch "induction" hotplate for a companion unit like this for just $42 (incl tax)! Why would you need a permit for a "kitchenette" since none of this is "built-in?" Many hotel rooms are set up like this. What does one young student (or a senior single or couple who cooks and eats dinner with the family in the "real" dining room) really need?? If there is no bar sink in the "companion bdrm," one can likely be installed w/o a permit using the bathroom sink plumbing which already exists.

I see these "makeshift" illegal units in both newer and older construction. In 91910 and 91902 (91902 mostly detached), there is usually enough room on the lot to park all the vehicles. In 91911 and 92154, where these types of houses also prevail, there are often several extra residential vehicles parked on the streets. It's legal to park on a public street as long as vehicles are not blocking driveway entrances or parked in red zones and are moved every 72 hrs. Some houses have as many as 8 regular vehicles always parked outside. As much as one might not want a neighbor's vehicle constantly blocking their view across the street, there's really nothing anyone can do about this as long as its regularly moved.

If your kid decided to stay home and go to college, wouldn't you consider holing them up in your "granny flat" (legal or illegal) and giving them landscaping and other chores around your property for "rent?"

If your parent was 75+ years old and widowed or divorced or 85+ years old and they were both still alive, together and could take care of themselves, wouldn't you feel better if you took them in if you were able to? They are allowed to drive until they can't pass the DMV vision test anymore with corrected vision or have other medical issues which would preclude them from driving. They have to park somewhere.

These "companion rooms" and "units" serve a needed function for lot of SD County residents. I, for one, am glad the county has eased restrictions on them.

To the OP, I agree that 2000 sf can be excessive for 2 people if you don't have a lot of personal possessions and don't use the bdrms (i.e. study/guest room, etc). You are fortunate to have found a compatible (unrelated) roommate you can trust. From your post, it seems as if you don't have a separate door to the outside in your roommates room and he/she has the use of your living areas and yard and thus has a key to your main home. I also agree with other posters that this setup could easily turn out to be an invasion of privacy and too aggravating to deal with for $600 mo. If you really need the $600 month and your roommate cleans up also, doesn't make extra work for you, doesn't bring in overnight or multiple guests and is not noisy, then I think you have probably found a good setup for now :-)

Submitted by bearishgurl on September 10, 2011 - 1:17pm.

CA renter wrote:
You're missing my point about not concentrating all the low-income housing like that. I'm sure there are some SFH landlords in CBD who will take Section 8 tenants, but in all the years I've lived here, I've never seen one. They don't need Section 8 because our rental market is very strong, and they can just as easily find truly qualified renters who are just about as reliable as Section 8, but who won't damage their homes.

Lol, CAR, I must have been "threadskimming" yesterday and did not see your post below. I really don't think the complexes shown on the City's website could be considered "slums" but of course, I don't live around there or drive by them.

I DO understand why "casitas" developers built as part of an SFR but with no separate entrance cannot be considered fulfilling their "affordable housing set-aside" requirements. Usually, these rooms are inhabited by relatives of the homeowner. They are NOT available to the general public on the basis of income. Therefore, they are not available for public consumption.

However, two things have always bothered me about public/private partnership decisions to place *new* affordable housing in particular areas.

First of all, why does a low-income or Section 8 tenant "deserve" *new* construction? What's wrong with older construction? Many working families making $80K to $200K per year own and/or reside in older construction which actually needs repairs they cannot yet afford.

Secondly, why does a low-income or Section 8 tenant "deserve" to live in zip codes and micro-areas where the average price of a condo is currently $350K+ and the average price of an SFR is currently about $650K?? What's wrong with 92105 or 92114?? I understand these zip codes already have a LOT of low-income housing. But I am hard-pressed to understand where the incentive is for a single parent or family to try to "earn more" and "move up" in life when if they do so, they will no longer "qualify" to rent their spacious 3-bdrm apt in Carlsbad with "full amenities" for $322 per month?

Piggs, if you happened to qualify for one of these units, wouldn't you keep your "documented" income within guidelines forever so as not to lose this "deal of a lifetime??" WTH, don't bother with that FT or "better" job. Just go surfing instead!

If a developer has to have a "low income set-aside" for a certain number of units in order to obtain permits to build SFRs in a desirable area, then why can't they build those "set-aside" units in a less desirable area (ie build SFRs in 92011 and their required LI units in 92025 or 92105, overlooking I-15)? Or, at the very least, build them in the same or adjacent zip codes but under high power lines, next to an industrial area or other lesser-desirable (read: cheaper) land? Why do all these areas that upwardly mobile buyers/tenants "aspire to" have to have hundreds of low-income units located within them?

It's not just Carlsbad, it's also coveted areas like Pt Loma (although not *newer* apts) where this phenomenon prevails.

I was always of the mind that people should "pay their dues" in life first in order to enable them to "move-up" to the next best area.

I believe many current "low-income" residents of Section 8 and other "low-income" units have become unjustly enriched at the expense of the working middle class, due to public policies to spread these housing benefits around nearly everywhere.

As I've posted before, this is also true for very young "low-income" active-duty families who live in military housing areas located at Silver Strand and Loma Portal. However, the Navy has owned all of this land for more than 60 years and there is nothing anyone can do about this. They are entitled to do with it whatever they wish.

CA renter wrote:
I don't know why this isn't mandated as "affordable housing" in new developments. It's more practical for most families to have their grown kids or elderly parents live near home than it is to have them far away in some apartment or nursing home. This way, instead of clustering apartments that meet the "affordable housing" requirements -- often leading to congested areas with higher crime, etc. -- the renters can be spread out where the landlords would be more inclined to maintain the properties better (because they live next door), and they can help friends or family members who need an affordable place to live. It would greatly reduce the creation of new "slums."

***************

I also disagree with making the Bressi Ranch condo complex available only to "low-income" buyers under strict guidelines and with all those restrictions. Cities of El Cajon and Santee have had similar programs for newly-built condos and there have been MANY foreclosures in these complexes.

It has been proven time and time again with CHFA, the fmr "Union Bank Economic Opportunity Mtgs," and the "City of SD Silent Seconds" (92105, 92113 and 92114) that low-income buyers (esp 1st-time buyers) DO NOT stay in their properties for the long term, CANNOT pay back "silent seconds" for violating occupancy and length-of-ownership rules and BALK at having to sell their property to another "low-income qualifying buyer" at a pre-determined sales price out of their control. This severely limits their buying pool and often the reason they are selling is desperation. They are selling due to moving for work or family reasons or are no longer able to afford the mortgage. These agencies aren't doing these "low-income" homeowners any favors. Many don't even need the MID for a tax writeoff and are actually taking the EIC on their tax returns!

There is so much public hype over the concept of "affordable housing" and "homeownership for all" that potential "low-income" buyers are actually being sold a "bill of goods" when they are "selected" by lottery to participate in these programs (usually for poorly-built and badly-located new construction), IMO. They don't realize this until months/years after they have moved in.

For a lowish-income first-timer, why not just try to qualify for an FHA loan and buy a home for your family through a "traditional sale??" Or save enough $$ until one has the necessary 3.5% down plus closing costs?

FWIW, I'm not saying here that having a "low income" is a crime or that "low income" people are somehow subhuman. Some Piggs might consider me to have a "low income," lol. And level of income has nothing to do with honesty and integrity. I just believe everyone should be able to live within their means and nothing more. Otherwise, there is no incentive to make one's life better ... because the *better lifestyle* is already available at a very low cost to those who can't afford it.

Submitted by Blogstar on September 11, 2011 - 11:05pm.

Don't forget to tell the neighbor it's too bad he can't afford to live somewhere besides next to you and your roommate.

Submitted by briansd1 on September 12, 2011 - 2:01pm.

bearishgurl wrote:

I see these "makeshift" illegal units in both newer and older construction.

So why not change the zoning and allow people to build legally and make it right.

The makeshift units are not safe. They are being built without permits. Let's change the zoning laws to allow people to turn SFRs into duplexes and triplexes if that's what they want to do.

Submitted by bearishgurl on September 12, 2011 - 3:33pm.

briansd1 wrote:
bearishgurl wrote:

I see these "makeshift" illegal units in both newer and older construction.

So why not change the zoning and allow people to build legally and make it right.

The makeshift units are not safe. They are being built without permits. Let's change the zoning laws to allow people to turn SFRs into duplexes and triplexes if that's what they want to do.

brian, most of the detached units WERE built with permits. However, they are still "illegal" because they do not have their own utility meters, their own addresses and some don't have their own parking space. They were built as "companion units" or "granny flats" with the "intended" use of putting a relative in there, with the homeowner paying their utility bills. WRT to the "casitas" that were discussed here, my understanding is that they were first floor master suites (1 of 1 or 1 of 2) located inside single family residences. Some had a door leading out the side or back of the house (like many MBR's) but did NOT have a separate address. These rooms were also built for relatives of the homeowner and are NOT self-sufficient. Besides the adjoining master bath, some may have a wet bar if it was an existing master suite or family room where one was already installed (popular in 1970's construction). The bar sink of this "wet bar" can be outfitted with small appliances which are moveable and NOT built in. No permit is needed to do this. It is not really a "kitchenette" if one can remove all the appls in 10 mins and restore it back to the original "wet bar."

What I was suggesting is that family members living in these rooms might only use their own (countertop) appls occasionally and eat most of their meals with the family in the kitchen. The appls are just there for privacy when the "tenant" or "granny" wants to eat alone or if the door from the room to the house is locked or closed off and the room is rented to a non-relative.

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