Monthly Archives: September 2018

HOAs and LGBTQ Homeowners

Posted on September 28, 2018 in Buying a Home

A Home Owner’s Association or HOA is something that many people want to avoid at all costs. These neighborhood overseers have the authority to determine what types of trees you can have in your yard, what animals you can have outdoors, and even what color your house is. While there are some advantages to living in an area with an HOA, many see the disadvantages as being too much. This can be especially true for those who identify as LGBTQ. There have been a number of instances where an HOA has discriminated against LGBTQ homeowners. If you find yourself battling an HOA over something, do you know what your rights are?

HOAs Must Comply with the Fair Housing Act

HOAs and LGBTQ HomeownersNo HOA may refuse to allow you to move into the neighborhood based on your race, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, or other factors. It doesn’t matter what your orientation or gender identity is, federal law protects you from housing discrimination. A number of states and cities have additional laws that offer more protections.

While the HOA may be able to ban carports or tell you that you can’t paint your home a bright blue, they can’t tell you when your children can play in your yard or when you can come and go from your home. They can’t ban visitors or what you do to the interior of your home, either.

The Senior Exemption

There can be an exemption made for age if a community has been designated a senior retirement community. In this one case, it is legal for the HOA to accept only buyers who are over a specific age. Often, these communities are also allowed to reject buyers or renters who have children, although they cannot prevent anyone with children from visiting. The idea is to create a quiet community for seniors to enjoy.

Can LGBTQ Neighborhood HOAs Discriminate?

Of course not—if someone who identifies as straight wants to move into a gay district that has an HOA, they’re legally allowed to. Many LGBTQ neighborhoods are seen as something of a refuge for those who feel different, whether it’s because they’re a minority religion, from another country, or have an artistic vision that others don’t get. Because of this, many LGBTQ districts are incredibly diverse. This is often one of the most amazing benefits of living in one of these neighborhoods.

Working with a gay or lesbian real estate agent can be very helpful when learning about HOA rules and what you could and could not do as a homeowner. You need to fully understand these rules before you buy a home governed by an HOA.

Lavender Heights – A LGBTQ Neighborhood in Sacramento

Posted on September 20, 2018 in Buying a Home

While many LGBTQ people who move to California are determined to live in either San Francisco or Los Angeles, there are actually a number of other, more affordable gay villages in the state. One of these neighborhoods is Lavender Heights, a part of Sacramento. If you’re looking to live more in the middle or northern part of the state, this may be the place for you.

Lavender Heights is located in the Midtown area of Sacramento. This is one of the historical districts of the city, and the houses here are gorgeous. Many are old Victorian homes that have been kept up over the years. While Midtown is mainly a residential area, it is just east of Sacramento’s downtown, so you’ll be close to everything. Midtown and Lavender Heights have a growing artistic community. The area is also home to the only winery in the Sacramento area. The entire Midtown area has continuous bike lanes and has a terminal for the Sacramento Regional Transit District light rail, making getting around very easy.

Sacramento’s Castro

Lavender Heights – A LGBTQ Neighborhood in SacramentoLavender Heights has been called the Castro of Sacramento. It’s also been compared to Washington, D.C.’s Dupont Circle. The neighborhood is home to the Lavender Library and the Sacramento LGBT Community Center along with many of the LGBTQ clubs, bars, and other businesses.

Despite being the center of Sacramento’s LGBTQ community for years, Lavender Heights wasn’t actually a designated neighborhood until 2015. It was always simply a part of Midtown, but the city’s first openly LGBTQ councilmember believed that the district needed to be officially recognized as its own area. He created a community collation to raise awareness of the district and its place in the LGBTQ community. With the support of a number of organizations, community leaders, and other groups, Lavender Heights was officially recognized as its own district.

As part of the campaign to become its own district, a rainbow crosswalk was installed in Lavender Heights. This crosswalk was funded by a number of fundraisers organized by the Rainbow Chamber of Commerce and its Rainbow Chamber Foundation. The crosswalk was officially unveiled in October of 2015 and was the subject of news stories across the state.

Living in Lavender Heights

As a historic district, you can expect to find mostly older homes in Lavender Hills. With access to downtown and the rest of the city via light rail plus a number of arts and music festivals, there’s always something to do. If you’re looking to settle somewhere away from the coast, ask a gay or lesbian real estate agent about Lavender Heights. It may not be that well-known, but you may be surprised by how homey it feels.

Moving into the Right School Zone

Posted on September 6, 2018 in Buying a Home

If you have a family with young children, one of the key factors in deciding on where you’re going to move is likely to be the school zone. If you’re an LGBTQ family, you may even be more concerned than other parents due to the fact that you do have to take into account how your children will be accepted. Changing schools is never easy, but it’s even worse if your kids get picked on for having same-sex parents. Before you make a final decision on where you’re moving, you will want to learn everything you can about the school or schools your children will be attending.

Go Online and Look at the School’s Profile

Most states, counties, or school districts have websites where you can look up the school’s performance review or school report card. These documents will discuss information such as the property valuation per student, the student suspension ratio, the total enrollment, the percentage of students scoring proficient or above in each subject and each grade, and other information. Reading over these profiles and other information you can find online will give you a general idea of how the school ranks compared to others in the school district and the state.

You can always do a search on the school and name LGBTQ students or related search terms. In many cases, schools that have had a major bullying issue have found themselves the subject of local news stories.

Visit the School

Once you find yourself seriously considering a specific home or neighborhood, you can call the school and ask to visit. You can speak to the principal or school superintendent about your concerns and ask about any problems the children from LGBTQ may have had. This is a good time to ask any questions you might have and to discuss any specific special needs your children may have.

Talk to the Neighbors

Once you’ve found the house for you, you can always approach some of your potential neighbors and ask about the school system. There’s a good chance you’ll find at least one family who has school-age children. This will not only give you an idea about the school, but it will also allow you to judge how your neighbors may react to you and your family.

If you find that the school is going to be a good fit for your children, there’s just one thing left to do: call your gay or lesbian real estate agent and make an offer on the house of your dreams!