How Zoning Issues May Affect Community Safety in Your Neighborhood

Zoning in residential neighborhoods plays an important role in the safety and security of our communities. If you have ever lived in an area where there has been a zoning ordinance dispute, you likely already know about the complexities of emotions, local governments, and legal requirements. 


Some zoning decisions will only have a minimal impact on your daily life. However, there are some ordinances that have the potential to affect the health and safety of you and your neighbors. 


Let’s look at three common zoning concerns that are most frequently associated with safety issues. Yes, these are complex issues, but at Griswold Law, we understand the complexities of property law in California, and we are here to help. 

Unregistered In-Home Businesses

Some in-home businesses fly under the radar, without much concern from neighbors in the area. Properly licensed in-home businesses have to abide by guidelines to keep the community from being negatively impacted. 


Unfortunately, not every in-home business is properly registered. Additionally, when an in-home business grows, expands, or starts bringing customers and clients into the home, that can cause concern for the community. 


Residential zoning is residential for a reason--the people in the neighborhood are supposed to be your neighbors, not customers coming and going from a neighbor’s home. If people in your neighborhood are running businesses from their homes, those should be appropriately licensed and registered to ensure that everything is being run safely and legally. 

Unauthorized Rentals

As sites like AirBnB,, and VRBO have grown in popularity, many neighborhood associations and tenant activists have expressed concerns about unauthorized short-term rentals. 


That’s because some homeowners and landlords have jumped at the chance to make some extra income without going through the appropriate legal steps. People have added bedrooms, constructed walls to split large rooms into smaller rooms, and converted garages so that they can rent out these extra rooms on these vacation rental sites. 


There are also plenty of cases of people renting out extra rooms for cash on long-term tenancies. Illegal rental agreements are a huge problem for everyone involved. They’re unsafe for the tenant and unfair to the community. Property alterations are often done without getting proper permits, which means the work is likely completed by inexperienced and unlicensed contractors. Shoddy work leads to unsafe living conditions. It can also bring down property values and affect your ability to sell your own home for its highest value. 


Additionally, when these unauthorized rentals become commonplace in a community, there are accompanying issues of extra traffic, noise, parking congestion, and more. 

Sober Living Facilities

This next topic is complicated because we know that sobriety programs are important for the recovery of people who struggle with substance abuse. 


However, sober living facilities are controversial for many reasons. They can create a huge problem for the community if they are not well run. Some of these homes have been accused of mistreating residents and taking advantage of people who are trying to get sober. 


In addition, sober living facilities are not inspected or currently not regulated in any meaningful way, which leads to concerns from neighborhoods and recovery advocates alike. 


Sober living houses can be associated with an uptick in nuisance complaints, a significant increase in the number of cars at a residential property, loitering, and noise at night. 


Sometimes the issues of unpermitted rentals and sober living houses intersect when the owners of these houses build additions or add bedrooms in order to house more residents. 

Are you concerned about a property in your neighborhood? 

If you have concerns about a property in your neighborhood, we may be able to help. You may be worried about unauthorized rentals, zoning violations, or issues related to sober living houses in your neighborhood. You may also be aware of nuisance properties that appear to be uninhabited or unsafe. 


Your neighborhood should be a safe place for you, your family, and your friends. At Griswold Law, our expertise is in property concerns. We work across California to help improve neighborhoods by acting as a court-appointed receiver in control of abandoned properties, distressed properties, and substandard properties in need of rehabilitation. 


If you want to learn about how we can help make your community safer, let’s talk! Contact us today through our website, or give us a call. 

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