Apartments for Low Income

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Duplex Floor Plans

June 21, 2012

Ruth asks…

Lead Paint possibility in MA duplex and renters?

I’m about to close on a duplex in MA and we will be living on the 1st floor. We will rent out the 2nd floor. There is a chance that there is lead paint and MA law states we cannot have children under the age of 6 living with lead paint.

One of our co-workers wants to rent from us. His kids are in their teens but his girlfriend’s kid is 3. There is a chance that he might ask her to move in even though it will be his name on the lease.

Do you think we would be liable if there is lead even though she is not on the lease? I also plan to ask the Board of Health but I’m curious on your responses.

Administrator answers:

MA has very tough landlord tenant laws, lead paint laws and is a very tenant friendly state. You should not take the chance – friend, co-worker or otherwise.

Another thought, it is never a good idea to rent to friends, family or co-workers. Very rarely do these situations end well.

You are going to be a landlord in MA, so you had better get to know the laws and join a landlord association – they provide a wealth of information to help you cover your rear and avoid problems.

In Massachusetts, a state law says that children under 6 years old cannot live in apartments that contain lead paint. It does not matter if only his name is on the lease, if the 3 year old child lives there, you would be liable if the child suffers lead poisoning.

MA law also clearly says that landlords cannot discriminate against families with young children because their apartments are not deleaded.

The only way you can comply with the law is to delead the apartment, a process that can easily cost $10,000 per unit.

There are some exceptions. If you who live in the building and rent out only one other unit, such as a duplex, you are allowed to refuse families with children.

Thomas asks…

How many pounds per square foot can the floor of a house hold?

I’m planning on a 90 Gallon aquarium. So everything together, it’ll probably be about 1000 pounds. The aquarium is 48″ x 18″. the height is 24″ ,but I don’t think that’ll matter. I calculated it to be about 167 pounds per square foot.

I live in a duplex house. It will be placed on the side walls, not the front/back walls. It will be on first floor, but there is also a basement under. I think this house was build around 1997.

Will the average house built around 1997 be able to hold 1000 pounds over 48″ x 18″ area, or about 167 pounds per spuare foot?

Thank you.
LMAO. i like your idea on getting 4 heavy people to jump on the spot. LOL and what if they do fall?


Administrator answers:

The live load that building code specs is 40 lbs/sq. Ft. This may not sound like much, but the design of your floor spreads the load out to joists that have no load directly above them You will be fine with your aquarium. Hope this helps.

Nancy asks…

CPS in north cali.. should I report?

Im a neighbor in a duplex, with single car garages separating the two units. Two bedroom duplex, one bathroom 1950s era construction. Large backyard, small front yard. Just to give a description of the floor plan and housing size. Approx 1000 sq ft. Ive been a tenant for 2+ years and they had moved in Dec 08. They moved in with 3 adults (300+lbs) and 4 children. As well as babysit for income 3x week. Long story short, They’re over all loud people, who’s voices carry, but Saturday i heard a woman yell to one of the children “if you dont shut the fu*k up, im going to slam your head through the wall” .. Needless to say, children are defenseless. The oldest child is 9-11 and she seems to be in the same repetitive actions as her family.

Am i butting my nose in (because its been made public by their general actions of lack of tone control) or should i report it? Ive heard CPS in california is shotty, at best. Im at a loss. Those kids are still young enough to be helped without serious counseling. Any and all advice is welcomed and appreciated.

Administrator answers:

Actually your better bet would be to check out the zoning for the duplex.

I believe that if it is as you say, they have too many people living under that roof. 2 bedrooms and 7 people does not add up.

It also sound as if they are running a daycare out of there. If so the they need to be licensed.

CPS in Northern California is a crap shoot. Think back to that poor boy in Tracy who was being tortured. He was under control of CPS.

Laura asks…

Ellsworth AFB base housing?

We are PCSing to Ellsworth in April. It is just me, my husband and our dog. We would like to live on base for a year to get the feel for it. I called and found out we qualify for the Centennial housing. I’m looking for more info them. Are they duplexes? Do they have garages? Basements? What kind of floor plan is it? 1 story or 2? Are they fenced? I know they are older houses, but how’s the insulation? Do they come with decent appliances? Carpet, tile? How’s the neighborhood? Any other things I’ve missed, feel free to let me know the answers to those as well!
Anyway you could send me some pictures of the layouts, neighborhood and front and back yards? I know it’s a long shot :) Thanks for the info!!
Also, I’ve been reading a lot on renovations on the Centennial development, have you heard, seen anything? Where would they move everyone?

Administrator answers:

My husband and I recently moved to Ellsworth AFB about two months ago. We were allowed three houses to look at, and all three were pretty much the same in the two bedroom category. The neighborhood we live in the houses are actually four plexes. Ours is two story, the living room and kitchen upstairs, along with a half bathroom and coat closet. Downstairs are the two bedrooms, full bath, laundry room. The house is decent size but not too big. Ours didn’t come with a washer or dryer, but had a place to hook up and put them. I’m not sure about the rest of the houses. The kitchen stove is gas which I wasn’t used to. The cabinets and appliances are a little outdated but honestly not too bad. Ours has carpet everywhere except the normal, kitchen and bathrooms. Backyard is fenced in, chain link fence, kind of small and they are very picky about the yards, so if your dog has a digging problem like ours, you’ll have to fix that lol. The houses seem to be pretty sound proof also, we hardly ever hear our neighbors. The garage is a one car garage and if you have a large vehicle it won’t fit. All in all I like the neighborhood and the base. The commissary and BX are kind of small compared to the base we were at before. The gym is pretty nice, very large if you are interested in that. Hope this helps..

Sharon asks…

Will this arrangement absorb sound?

I rent a first floor duplex apartment in an old Victorian house. It’s beautiful, but the layout is kind of strange. Case in point–one of the bedrooms has one door that opens into the central hallway, and one that opens into the living room, where we watch television. You can clearly hear the television from inside the room, of course, which doesn’t lend much privacy or comfort to the person who’s sleeping there.

Here is my plan to alleviate the situation. I intend to purchase this jute room divider:

And use it to hide this material, which I thought I’d mount on the wall/door to the bedroom that gets invaded by the sound:

My questions are as follows:

Will the jute screen diminish the effectiveness of the acoustic material somehow?

Can I get good results by only covering the area of the wall and the door blocked by the screen? There will probably be another four feet of wall above the screen, and another couple feet on either side of it.

Thanks for your help!

Administrator answers:

I think it’s worth a try.

But the questions you pose can probably be best answered by the manufacturer. Google Auralex tech support & e-mail your questions to them.

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