A: This type of problem is one of the myriad reasons why, for the past 20 years, new developments have adopted CC&R’s; rules homeowners must abide by.
It only takes one guy who paints his house yellow, red and purple to make a neighborhood unsightly, and wall-to-wall parked cars on the curbs to make it unnavigable.
In your case, the simple answer to your question regarding asking if there’s anything you can do is “probably not.” But maybe.
First off, you’re right about the streets. Public streets are open to the public, regardless of whether it’s a homeowner or a stranger. As long as they are legally parked there’s not much you can do.
There are local ordinances regarding how long a car can be parked without moving, but that doesn’t seem to be the problem.
So let’s break down the issues.
Street parking we talked about. Not much you can do.
If the house is being operated as a boarding house, there are laws that come into play. First, if it’s a commercial enterprise the city can get involved. Commercial lodging is a regulated business with zoning, as well as health and safety laws that come into play.
Generally, a homeowner can have a boarder or two without a problem. More than that and there are permits that are required and which this homeowner would likely not qualify for. To do so they would have to get a zoning variance. That would require notice to the neighbors. Your objection to the variance would all but kill it. So check with the city’s code enforcement office to get the specifics.
The building code also comes into play, at least potentially. Houses have occupancy limits, just like the signs you see on the wall in commercial buildings. The occupancy depends, at least in part, on the number and size of bedrooms and bathrooms.
However, and this is a big however, before you do anything you need to know if these people are all related, especially to the first degree. Like parents, grandkids, etc.
Every lawyer studied cases in law school where ma and pa lived in a two bedroom house they bought as a young couple and eventually had nine kids. The city came in and declared that the living conditions were unsafe and unsanitary and the folks had to decide if they were going to move or get rid of some of the kids. Shockingly the courts have ruled that the city can’t make you get rid of your kids. Or, for that matter, move because you had them.
There is dispute about how close the relatives have to be to qualify to avoid all the codes, but the city is unlikely to get involved when everyone is related.
However, the biggest problem you face is enforcing any laws that do apply. A homeowner can have as many guests as they want. The problem is trying to determine when a “guest” becomes a “resident.” There may be ordinances that limit guests to 30 days. But try to prove they’ve been there, consecutively, for more than 30 days.
To reiterate; if this is a commercial enterprise a call to code enforcement may be enough to get the ball rolling. Or at least they can refer you to the proper city office. But if they’re related or deny that they actually live there, you may be stuck.
In newer subdivisions, with giant sets of CC&R’s, parking on the street after a certain time of night is prohibited and cars can be towed.
If this continues to be an issue the only solution may be to contact your favorite Realtor.