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Seattle Times business reporter Elizabeth Rhodes posts the answers to your real estate questions as they pop up during the week. Join this ongoing discussion, which also features reader reaction to real-estate articles appearing throughout The Times.

Home Forum, Seattle Times, P.O. Box 1845, Seattle, WA 98111

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August 29, 2008 7:00 AM

Landlord boyfriend ponders tax issues

Posted by Elizabeth Rhodes

Q: My girlfriend and I are living in the town house I own and she's paying me $500 a month in rent --something less than the going rate in our neighborhood -- plus half the utilities. How do I account for this taxwise?

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August 28, 2008 7:30 AM

Pondering the availability of condo repair loans

Posted by Elizabeth Rhodes

Q: I've heard that many older condo complexes need multimillion-dollar maintenance and repairs. In the past, the owners' rapidly increasing equity fueled their ability to get construction loans. Now that the real-estate market has turned, what's the availability like for these loans?

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Comments | Category: Condos and condo associations |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

August 25, 2008 2:35 PM

Meager reserve account savings worries condo owner

Posted by Elizabeth Rhodes

Q: What recourse do condo owners have to require their board to follow the requirements of the declaration?

Ours states that the board is responsible for calculating "contributions to the reserve fund so that there are sufficient funds in the reserve fund to replace each Common Area covered by the fund at the end of the estimated useful life..."

However our board has cut reserve fund contributions by more than 75 percent in the last five years, preferring instead that we pay for things with special assessments. We have one now in the works for $300,000.

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August 25, 2008 11:04 AM

Barbeque smoke as an issue

Posted by Elizabeth Rhodes

Q: I recently received a fine "warning" from my condo management company. It was because a neighbor complained about the smoke coming from a charcoal barbecue on my patio. However in the HOA House Rules, is states "Barbecues on balconies and patios are allowed under these conditions: Charcoal barbecues must have an enclosed ash catcher. Gas barbecues must have a shelf underneath to catch drippings or the homeowner is required to use a metal drip pan to protect deck surface from any damage." Since I do have an ash catcher, I am not breaking any rules. Do they really have any right to fine or send me a warning letter since I am not violating the House Rules?

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Comments | Category: Condos and condo associations |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

August 13, 2008 7:30 AM

Owner wants to prevent home's destruction

Posted by Elizabeth Rhodes

Q: A nice Eastside home near mine was torn down, presumably to be replaced by a fancy house. I find it immensely sad to see the destruction of perfectly good resources. When I sell my home, can I require that the buyer not tear it down for at least 10 years?

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Comments | Category: Buying or selling a home |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

August 11, 2008 8:00 AM

Tenant concerned about no final walk-through

Posted by Elizabeth Rhodes

Q: I requested a walk-through of the rental house I just vacated, but the landlord says he doesn't want me present. He says he's going to have his cleaning crew give him a report on the house's condition. Do I have the right to a walk-through?

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Comments | Category: Renting |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

August 7, 2008 8:00 AM

Disabled homeowner loses handicapped parking spot

Posted by Elizabeth Rhodes

Q: I'm a disabled senior and have a handicapped-parking permit for my car, which I parked in the handicapped spot next to my Kent condominium. Recently the homeowners board voted to turn our three handicapped spots into visitor parking instead. I've complained, but haven't gotten anywhere. Isn't this discriminatory?

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Comments | Category: Condos and condo associations |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

August 6, 2008 7:30 AM

HOA committee nixes changing door style

Posted by Elizabeth Rhodes

Q: Our house, in a Kitsap County neighborhood, is governed by a homeowners association (HOA), which requires owners to get its architectural committee's approval for any construction affecting a home's exterior. This committee has denied our request to replace our front door with one containing a window -- even though there's no conformity of door styles in our neighborhood. Are we stuck with this ruling?

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August 1, 2008 7:30 AM

Granddaughter's land grab concerns relative

Posted by Elizabeth Rhodes

Q: An 80-year-old relative, who's not always lucid, has said in the past that his will leaves a valuable piece of property to a granddaughter. The granddaughter wants this relative's son (the will's eventual executor) to give her the property now. She says the son has the power to do this because his dad isn't always competent and she's going to get it anyway. Is this true?

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Recent entries

Aug 29, 08 - 07:00 AM
Landlord boyfriend ponders tax issues

Aug 28, 08 - 07:30 AM
Pondering the availability of condo repair loans

Aug 25, 08 - 02:35 PM
Meager reserve account savings worries condo owner

Aug 25, 08 - 11:04 AM
Barbeque smoke as an issue

Aug 13, 08 - 07:30 AM
Owner wants to prevent home's destruction

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