The San Diego Union-Tribune recently reported on a 70 year old woman who likes to spend time in her garage knitting, watching a little Jeopardy on TV and visiting with neighbors. Marilyn Weber, a resident of Villa Portofino Association (“HOA”), hangs out in her garage around 4 to 5 hours a day. “I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t hang out in my garage, I think I’d go crazy,” she said. “All my friends come over to this space. It if wasn’t for them I would feel isolated.”
Mrs. Weber’s HOA doesn’t feel the same way. In fact, the HOA has fined Mrs. Weber $120.00 so far for using her garage as a living space. Evidently, the HOA’s governing documents say: “No structure of a temporary character, trailer, basement, tent, shack, garage, barn or other outbuilding shall be used on any lot as a residence, either temporary or permanently.”
So does hanging out in the garage a few hours a day mean Mrs. Weber is using it as a residence? Does a residence require running water or bathroom facilities? Does the use of a folding chair constitute furniture that’s usually found in a residence? Does this action by the HOA make sense or should the board be hauled out to the woodshed for a good talking to? Tell us what you think!
By the way, I grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where hanging out in the garage was a neighborly thing to do. Neighbors stop by for a chat, to sample the beverage of the day and to watch the hummingbirds buzz around the feeder. I guess it’s a good thing we didn’t live in an HOA!