Updated: Thursday, July 24, 2014
When It Comes To Residential Care Facilities, Agents Need To Be Careful About What They Say
The topic of residential care facilities also known as community care facilities is a touchy one. Right now, in the city where I live -- as well as in some near-by towns -- there is a bit of a community uproar over the increased presence of such facilities in so-called "traditional" neighborhoods.
The term residential care facility covers a variety of uses, ranging from foster family homes to adult care to facilities providing rehabilitative services to those recovering from mental illness. Regrettably, there is frequently a great deal of "not in my back yard" sentiment expressed when the issue of residential care facilities arises.
The California Association of REALTORS CAR has produced a memorandum Residential Care Facilities that covers a wide variety of such facilities, and it makes clear that there are often subtle differences in the law with respect to the individual types. Nonetheless, the similarities -- especially with respect to real estate disclosure issues -- greatly outweigh the differences.
Probably the most significant common element among the various types of facilities is that most of the >
Having noted that there are occasional variations in the law with respect to different types of facilities, for purposes of our discussion we will focus on the issues as they >
First, we note that, under California law, these properties "must not be subject to any business taxes, local registration fees, use permit fees, or other fees to which other single-family dwellings are not likewise subject... Furthermore, whether or not un>
So, what does all this mean with respect to disclosure duties? Suppose there is an alcoholism or drug abuse recovery facility next door. Is there an obligation upon either the real estate agent or the seller to disclose that fact to a potential buyer? No.
The analysis is two-fold.
1. There is an affirmative duty to disclose the existence of a nuisance affecting the property. However, the existence of such a facility cannot in and of itself be considered a nuisance. By law, anything which is done or maintained under the express authority of a statute -- as a recovery facility would be -- cannot be considered a nuisance. Of course, if there were constant loud noises or traffic problems, those could be considered nuisances.
2. There is an affirmative duty to disclose material facts that might affect the value or desirability of a property. However, the California attorney generals office has already issued an opinion that the location of a licensed care facility cannot be a material fact. After all, the Health and Safety Code has determined that "a residential facility which serves six or fewer persons shall be considered a residential use of property and a use of property by a single family." A residential use of property by a single family cannot be considered a material fact adversely impacting a neighboring property.
Well, ok, there may not be a duty to disclose the existence of such a facility; but what about volunteering the information? The CAR memorandum counsels caution in this regard. It points out that both alcoholism and drug addictions are considered to be handicaps under the law. "Therefore, volunteering information concerning the presence of an alcoholism or drug abuse recovery or treatment facility may violate state and federal law prohibiting discrimination based upon a person being handicapped."
And what if an agent were asked about the presence of a care facility? Can they answer? Yes, providing that the response is "factual, not intended to aid discrimination against or segregation of licensed care facilities within the community, and in fact does not have that effect."
While the CAR memorandum particularly addresses California law, it also makes it quite clear that this state law often mirrors, or is superseded by, federal law.
Bob Hunt is a director of the California Association of Realtors. He is the author of Real Estate the Ethical Way.
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The Designers Guide For Your New Bathroom
The bathroom is likely the smallest room in your house, yet it requires the most plumbing, fixtures, and lights per square foot. Bathroom remodels can be expensive, so you dont want to make any mistakes.
One of the most exciting resources for kitchen remodeling ideas is the National Kitchen and Bath Association. The NKBAs Kitchen and Bath Planning Guidelines with Access Standards ANSI is a terrific checklist to make sure you get the safest, most attractive, and most accessible new bath possible.
Naturally, youll have limitations in what you can do -- space, budget, and other priorities, but with the NKBAs guidelines, you can easily prioritize whats most important to you and your family.
If you dont have a disability or injury, you may not be familiar with the concept of universal design. It simply ensures easy access for all, but that doesnt mean your new bathroom should look like it belongs in a hospital. You can include wider doorways, roll-in showers, or door handles instead of knobs on the cabinets.
The doorway into a bath is recommended to be at least 32", depending on local codes. But if you have older household members, or if you entertain >
Because a bathroom space is typically tight, pay careful attention to all clearances. Could the door bang into an open cabinet door or drawer? Is there plenty of room to exit the tub without getting bruised by a cabinet edge or another fixture? Also, make sure lavatory, shower and tub handles can be easily turned without twisting the wrist or getting pinched.
One of the reasons tile is so popular for baths is that its easy to clean. Flooring with textured or uneven surfaces such as slate also work well. Shower floors should slope toward the drain so water doesnt accumulate underfoot.
Many older baths only come with one outlet, while newer building codes may require one GFCI receptacle outlet for every six or eight feet. Consider rewiring the bath and putting outlets on every corner where you use an electric appliance, but away from showers and tubs for grooming appliances such as hairdryers, curling irons, shavers, and nail dryers.
Grab bars can be placed in water closets and above tubs for greater ease in getting up and down. Try to design the bath with no steps if possible, particularly none around the tub.
Covering the shower walls with a waterproof material such as tile or glass is recommended, but you can also take the covering all the way to the ceiling for a luxurious look.
A bath is the most important area of the house to keep clean and tidy, so include as much space as possible for storage. Youll need space for towels, linens, grooming tools and cleaning supplies. If storage is at a premium, think creatively. For example the space above the tank of the commode is a perfect place to build or install shelves. Just be sure to allow enough clearance for maintenance.
Vessel sinks and pedestal sinks have been around a few years, but they add more drama and individuality than utility. Continuous granite or undermount porcelain sinks can be beautiful, as well as practical. The farmhouse sink is also attractive in a high-traffic bathroom.
Sometimes new lighting fixtures can update a bath with very little investment. Think in terms of task lighting -- lights by the vanity mirror, for example. Overhead light fixtures and ventilation fans are also useful.
No matter what you choose for your new bath, if you combine utility with comfort, you cant go wrong. Dont try to make the bath do more than the space allows. If all you have room for is a shower, and not a tub, create a shower with a small built-in seat. Where theres a will, theres a solution.
See more ideas at www.nkba.org.
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Go Green With The Wink Home Automation Ecosystem
Did you know that an automatic dishwasher uses less hot water than doing dishes by hand, which equals an average of six gallons less per cycle, or more than 2,000 gallons per year? Considering that an individual American uses about 2,000 gallons of water per month, thats a pretty significant number.
The idea of "going green" has come a long way in recent decades. In the 1950s, some kinds of energy efficiency werent really a choice. From drying your clothes on a clothesline, to cutting your grass with a mechanical push mower, people often lived green without ever consciously considering their carbon footprint. These days, the story is a little different; you cant turn a corner or pick something up without seeing some kind of "save the earth" signage or packaging.
Reasons to Go Green
There are a plethora of reasons to go green, most falling into either the money-saving or the earth-saving categories. On one hand, you could seriously put some green back into your wallet with things like energy-efficient appliances, and green building tax credits and rebates. Also, simple things like carpooling, limiting eating out, and starting your own vegetable garden are great ways to save money and help the environment.
On the other hand, eco-friendliness means making your community and the planet a better place to live not only for us, but also for future generations. Examples of things you can do in your home are unplugging unused electronics to prevent "phantom" energy consumption, switching to LED light bulbs, conserving water by taking shorter showers, and using reusable items like Tupperware and canvas shopping bags rather than plastic.
Home Automation Technology
New advances in technology are taking much of the guesswork out of going green. With home automation systems like the Wink Hub and free app, you can control the settings on many of your home devices with the push of a smartphone button or even just with your voice. The Wink ecosystem interconnects all of your smart home devices either first through the Hub, or directly to the app. Winks simplicity is one of its most attractive features: according to Home Depot technology professional and Wink test user, Ramesh Chaparala, "Its very, very simple and self-explanatory," continuing, "Installing the Hub is a no-brainer; in five steps youre connected."
What Can You Control?
With the Wink home automation ecosystem, you no longer have to "set it and forget it" when it comes to your home devices. You can control many of your smart devices from your couch, bed, work, or anywhere you are in the world. Here are just a handful of devices you can install in your home that will not only bring you into the 21st century, but also make your home a smoothly running, highly efficient machine.
Thermostats are a great way to control your homes energy consumption, and when you apply smart technology, you can control it from anywhere. One Wink App Ready device is the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat, which not only adjusts to your schedule, uses automatic energy-saving settings, and Smart Response technology for precise temps, but also has a full-color, customizable screen to match your decorating scheme. You can be sure your home is aesthetically pleasing and at your exact desired temperature at all times.
Custom Window Shades
Motorized window shades allow for a clean, uncluttered look, are safer for pets and children with cordless technology, and help insulate your home with the setting of a timer or the push of a button. One quality option, Bali Custom Blinds and Shades with Somfy automation amp; controls, utilizes a single control, wall switch, remote or programmable timer to operate single or multiple window coverings. Keep the shades drawn during summer to keep your home naturally cool, or leave them open in cooler months to let the sunshine warm your space.
Remote-Access LED Lights
Huge energy and money savings start by simply swapping out incandescent and even compact fluorescent light bulbs in your home for LED bulbs. LED solutions outlast incandescent and halogen bulbs up to 35 to 1, consume 85 less energy than incandescent bulbs, and emit less heat, which altogether drastically reduces replacing costs and landfill waste. Once youve decided to install LEDs, take it to the next level by installing smart light bulbs, like the TCP Connected Smart LED Light Bulb Kit with 2 A19 LED light bulbs. With this kit, you can remotely control lighting, dimming and smart lighting features from anywhere in the world with any computer, tablet, smart phone, or connected remote control. They have an estimated yearly cost of 1.32 and a life expectancy of 22.8 years both figures based on three hours of use a day.
Home Automation Technology is an Environmental No-Brainer
When it comes to eco-friendly new gadgets, its clear that home automation takes the cake. Having nearly complete control of your energy-consuming home devices right at your fingertips is certainly a big step forward for earth-conscious homeowners. In addition to these devices, several other smart green products are energy sensors, HVAC systems, irrigation systems, and outlet controls.
Which environmentally friendly automated devices will you install in your home?
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|Sarah Kellner is a DIY home-improvement writer for Home Depot in Atlanta. Sarah writes for homeowners on topics ranging from appliances to kitchens to home automation. You can view many of Home Depots home automation products on the companys website.|