Zoning changes require home seller disclosure

DEAR BOB: Is it a disclosure requirement for a home sellerto tell the buyer that the home has just been re-zoned into a nonconformingstatus? Are there times when an owner just does not know? –Dick B.

DEAR DICK: A property use that does not comply with thecurrent zoning is known as a nonconforming use. For example, a single-familyhouse located within a commercial zone is a nonconforming use.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

Whenever a property is proposed for rezoning, the owner mustbe notified and given an opportunity to speak at a public hearing for oragainst the rezoning.

As a home seller, you must disclose on the listinginformation and to your buyer if your property was rezoned, or rezoning isunder consideration by city or county officials, and your residence will becomea nonconforming use. A nonconforming use can have a major impact on the marketvalue of the property.

When a property is rezoned and the current use does not meetthe new zoning rules, most existing uses are “grandfathered” andallowed to continue either indefinitely or for a specified number of years.

But most zoning laws specify that if more than 50 percent ofa property is destroyed or severely damaged, such as in a fire, the structurecannot be rebuilt as a nonconforming use.


DEAR BOB: I own a condo that is adjacent to an apartmentbuilding where there is frequent loud noise. The police have been called manytimes but without effective results. Our homeowner’s association board and theso-called professional management company refuse to take action. When I triedto find out who is in charge, nobody seems to know. This concerns me because Ifeel the noisy neighbors will devalue my investment. If I rent my condo, I’mafraid I won’t be able to keep renters when they discover the noise. What can Ido to get the homeowner’s association to act? –Carol M.

DEAR CAROL: You should attend the homeowner’s associationmeetings to politely express your desire to have the association take actionbecause this noise problem must be affecting most or all of the units. A lettersent by both first-class mail and certified mail with return receipt requestedshould ask the management company and the association to take action on behalfof all the condo owners.

If the homeowner’s association directors refuse to act, thenit is up to you and your condo neighbors. Keep a careful record of your phonecalls to the police.

If the loud noise continues, your legal action is to bring aprivate nuisance abatement lawsuit against the owner of the apartment buildingand the offending tenants. For details, please consult a local real estate attorney.


DEAR BOB: I live in a rural subdivision of 25 half-acrelots. We are governed by CC&Rs recorded in 1976. They are to run for 30years, with an automatic 10-year extension, unless a majority of the ownersagree to change them. The original CC&Rs were poorly written, difficult toenforce, and are out of date. The elected directors of the homeowner’sassociation have submitted revised CC&Rs to the members, subject to a 51percent vote for approval. Legally, can a simple majority of lot owners passCC&Rs applicable to 100 percent of the owners? –Stan D.

DEAR STAN: If the existing CC&Rs allow changes oramendments by a vote of 51 percent of the eligible lot owners, then a simplemajority can enact new CC&Rs affecting all lot owners. But that can bedifficult to achieve because many members might not care so they fail to vote.For details, please consult a local real estate attorney.

The new Robert Bruss special report, “The 20 EssentialQuestions Smart Home Buyers Must Ask to Avoid Overpaying in a Buyer’sMarket,” is now available for $5 from Robert Bruss, 251 Park Road,Burlingame, CA 94010 or by credit card at 1-800-736-1736 or instant delivery atwww.BobBruss.com. Questions for thiscolumn are welcome at either address.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center

Copyright 2006 Inman News

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