By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Oceanside homeowner renting two 6-bedroom homes to a total of 12 Marines
The latest controversy brewing in HOA-ville comes to us from the Arrowood neighborhood in Oceanside, California. For more than a decade, property owner Ron Zurawski has owned two six-bedroom homes in the covenant restricted community. And up until a few months ago, Zurawski has been renting both homes to active and recently discharged or retired Marines.
His tenants each pay $650 per month for their own bedrooms, $750 per month if the bedroom has its own bathroom. These are very large homes, with plenty of space, and not in violation of local building code occupancy limits. The roommates share the living areas and outdoor spaces of their homes.
According to a report in the San Diego Tribune, rents for homes in Arrowood range from $3,300-$4,000 per month, and one-bedroom apartments start at around $1,600 per month.
Obviously, this shared living arrangement saves the tenants a lot of money, and provides affordable housing close to the Marine base.
And Zurawski says that, for many years, neighbors have never complained about any noise, nuisance, or disturbance.
But the HOA, Arrowood Master Association, says that its rules limit occupancy of homes in the community to “single family use,” a commonly written but vague restriction subject to legal interpretation.
The HOA has chosen to fine Zurawski $1,000 per month for each home, until Zurawski evicts his tenants. So far, according to the report, the HOA has imposed fines totaling $12,000.
Oceanside homeowner says HOA wants him to evict his Marine tenants
Andrew Dyer, San Diego Tribune
September 21, 2018 6:00 AM
When Ron Zurawski purchased his six-bedroom, six-bath Oceanside home in 2005, he said he did so for one purpose — to rent rooms to Marines.
The home, located in the Arrowood community just outside the San Luis Rey gate to Camp Pendleton, was yet to be built. Zurawski, an unmarried Navy veteran with no kids, said he had no other use for a house that size.
To throw even more controversy into the plot, NBC 7 reports that about a year ago, Zurawski briefly rented to a veteran who was a registered sexual offender. When neighbors found out about it through a Megan’s Law public notice, that’s when they began complaining about Zurawski operating what they call ‘mini-dorms’ for Marines.
Landlord Renting to Marines Fined Thousands, Sued by Oceanside HOA for Running ‘Mini Dorm’
NBC 7 has learned 11 months ago Zurawski rented to a Marine veteran who was getting out of prison after serving time for a sexual offense
By Rory Devine
Published at 11:54 AM PDT on Sep 23, 2018 | Updated at 8:08 PM PDT on Sep 23, 2018
A landlord in Oceanside who rents two houses to Marines and Marine veterans says he will not kick out his tenants, even though he says he is being fined thousands of dollars by his homeowners association.
Ron Zurawski has six Marines and Marine veterans living in each of his two houses. They each pay $650 to $750 a month for rent.
The Arrowwood Homeowner’s Association says the Zurawski is violating covenant conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) that say the neighborhood is for single families –not mini dormitories. But that is only part of the story.
NBC 7 has learned 11 months ago Zurawski rented to a Marine veteran who was getting out of prison after serving time for a sexual offense.
Zurawski says he knew the former marine was a sexual offender, but the man’s parole officer told Zurawski the marine veteran was not a “predator.” “I wanted to give him a chance,” said Zurawski, who also said he did not think it would go public.
But Zurawski said one neighbor found out about it on Megan’s Law, and “that’s when things exploded.” Zurawski said the Marine veteran stayed in the house for only a few days and left when asked.
Read more (video):
But in California, state laws protect the rights of sex offenders, despite the fact that convicted criminals are not a protected class under federal Fair Housing Laws.
Therefore, Arrowood HOA cannot legally prevent a sex offender from living in the community, as long as their home is not located within certain restriction zones near schools, day cares, or playgrounds.
Like it or not, sex offenders aren’t prohibited from living in homeowner associations (Donie Vanitzian, LA Times, Nov. 3, 2016)
Some supporters of California’s laws protecting convicted sex offenders from housing discrimination point out that other convicted criminals, yet-to-be caught and prosecuted criminals, and even domestic abusers reside in every neighborhood, including HOA-governed enclaves, and there’s nothing that homeowners or residents can do about it.
But, understandably, after some of Zurawski’s neighbors expressed concern about a sex offender moving into one of his rental homes, the tenant was asked to leave, and did so within a few days.
That didn’t stop Arrowood HOA from citing their CC&Rs and Community Guidelines as contractual agreements that would legally prohibit Zurawski from renting rooms to unrelated adult tenants.
And, since the story has become public, several vocal neighbors began complaining that the six adult men living in one of the homes (the one that was not filmed by local media) is ‘rat-infested’ and run down, and that cars are parked on the grass. (Read the comments following each of the referenced reports)
Since most of us don’t reside in Arrowood, we don’t know if these claims are true or exaggerated. And we cannot conclude that the timing of such complaints is suspect.
An affordable housing reality check
Setting aside the highly controversial issue of where sex offenders should live, it’s worth looking at the Big Picture. After all, only a small percentage of U.S. residents are convicted sex offenders. But millions of Americans struggle to find an affordable place to live.
In a state such as California, where housing costs are so far out of reach for many residents, is it fair to limit use of housing to “single family use,” as narrowly defined by old-fashioned ideals?
Let’s face it. The days of Leave it To Beaver and The Brady Bunch are long over. Gone are the days when the primary owners and residents of single family homes were married parents with children, and maybe a housekeeper.
Time for a reality check.
According to the Pew Research Center, Americans are remaining single into their late 20s and early 30s, and an increasing number of adults choose to cohabit without getting married. Divorce remains common, as well as remarriage. Following a divorce, 30% of men and 54% of women say they do not intend to remarry. And, of course, some adults remain single for life.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that American workers change employers, on the average, every 4.4 years. Younger generations and older workers job hop more frequently than average, and employment mobility is seen as an increasingly important lifestyle factor.
Given these realities, it is inevitable that most Americans, at one time or another, will be single or in the midst of an employment transition. In fact, many U.S. residents will find themselves alone or between jobs more than once in their lifetimes.
Of course, during life’s ups and downs, we all need a place to live. Unfortunately, finding housing that is affordable can be difficult to impossible in some parts of the U.S., even if job opportunities are readily available. And if you don’t have a partner or family members to help share the cost of living, what are your options?
When unrelated adults, with or without children, have the option of sharing housing costs in a single family home, it helps every adult’s limited budget go a long way. And it might decrease loneliness, and lead to new friendships, too.
It’s blatantly unfair when some nosey, judgmental neighbors jump to the conclusion that every unrelated adult sharing living space must be a sleaze, a pervert, a party hound, or a criminal.
How incredibly offensive, and — some might say — discriminatory against single people.
Without home-sharing options — which used to be much more commonplace until three or four decades ago — American tenants are increasingly funneled into crowded and expensive low-rise, mid-rise, and high-rise apartment complexes, managed by mega corporate landlords.
It’s easy to see who benefits from a housing market that favors Big Landlords that keep raising rents to the breaking point.
With this in mind, why should housing policymakers, association-governed communities, and restrictive covenants in general discourage home-sharing arrangements?
Politicians and advocates who claim to support affordable housing need to use some common sense, and open their hearts and minds to the idea that unrelated adults can live both responsibly and affordably under the same roof.
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