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#592-G, Doral Homeowners Association v. Motalib (June 12, 2003) (Panel: Pettey, Huggins, Bruce).

The homeowners association (HOA) filed a complaint against the homeowner (HO) alleging that he was subletting his house in violation of County law and the HOA rules.Specifically, the HOA claimed that the HO had created several apartments in his single-family house in violation of HOA rules providing that no building could be altered or used as other than a "single family dwelling" and providing further that no part of the house smaller than the entire house could be leased or rented.

The evidence at the hearing showed that the HO had constructed as many as 3 separate apartments within his house, that the HO still lived in the house himself, that the HO was not duly licensed as a landlord, and that the basement apartments did not meet the standards of the County's housing code.The HO claimed in defense that the tenants acted as caregivers to him because he was ill; however, the evidence also showed that the tenants paid rent, were not licensed caregivers, and were not paid to provide medical care.

The hearing panel found that the HO had violated the rules of the community by subdividing his house and by using portions of the house as rental apartments.It also found he violated community rules by failing to obtain HOA approval of the form and content of his leases.The panel ordered the HO to remove all kitchens from the house except the main one, to remove all beds from the accessory rooms,to dismantle all accessory units, and to permanently remove all tenants from the house.

[Editor's note: Montgomery County law requires that all landlords who do not live with their tenants be licensed, and also that accessory apartments (defined as separate rental living quarters attached to a house or apartment in which the landlord lives)  be licensed by the Department of Housing & Community Affairs (DHCA).In addition, the County Housing Code prohibits basements from being used as living quarters or bedrooms unless they meet certain standards of the Housing Code.More information is available from DHCA.]

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