Maryland Homeowner Plans to Appeal "Boarding House" Ruling | NBC4 Washington

Maryland Homeowner Plans to Appeal "Boarding House" Ruling

Homeowners association accuses family of high tenant turnover



    (Published Monday, Feb. 7, 2011)

    The Falls Farm Homeowners Association in Potomac, Md., informed one family it was breaking the association's rules by renting rooms in their home and operating a boarding house.

    The family said it's a victim of discrimination.

    Jean Huynh owns one of about 40 single-family homes in the Falls Farm subdivision. Her parents, who gave it to her and her sister in 2005, live there.

    The Huynhs rented out a downstairs apartment and an upstairs bedroom, so the homeowners association got a court order in November, saying a boarding house is not permitted and that persons of African, Indian and Asian descent move in and stay for a short time.

    "They're not transients," Huynh said. "This is not a boarding house. They don't stay on a weekly or monthly basis. They stay a year to two years, sometimes even extending their contract, and being very comfortable here, they've been accepted by our family as family members."

    The lawyer for the homeowners association, Joseph McBride, strongly disagrees.

    "You can rent the whole house out to people but you can't have constant turnover, and that's what was going on," he said. "There were constantly people moving in, moving out, moving in, moving out."

    The house has been vandalized, and the Huynhs suspect neighbors. The family also said it has been threatened.

    "I feel that I am being discriminated against because I'm fighting for what's rightfully -- I'm entitled to have tenants in my house," Huynh said.

    To the allegations of discrimination, McBride replied, "Absolute nonsense. Yeah, just nonsense."

    The Huynh family said it is losing about $1,600 a month in rent since the court order in November and the homeowners association is holding the family responsible for almost $30,000 in legal fees.

    The Huynhs plan to appeal.