I received the following from Common'Tator a few days ago and decided that his thoughts deserved highlighting. My comments following pertain mainly to the economic impact.
“Nice website, I like the idea. I live in
I should point out though that this issue is backed up against a ton of money. As most owners own more than one or two properties, at least in our neighborhood and they fight tooth and nail and in force against anything they see as hurting their bottom line. Just look at the re-zone in
I would be interested in enforcement of this code, more or less as a tool to keep renters in college housing neighborhoods in check. I really like the idea of a rental house permit, as for the love of goodness it is an income source and should be regulated...
I also would be interested to see if you could make an economic argument for the increase in rentals if this code was enforced. I.E. a correlation in the demand increase as houses can have less occupants, thus more rentals on market.
Anyway nice site, nice topic. Will be back.”
Enforcement of the city codes regarding illegal rooming houses is bound to have an economic effect, as well it should. Over the past several decades, the city has, either by omission or commission, allowed renters of single family homes to form groups to reduce the per capita cost of renting. This created a hidden subsidy of renters to the detriment of the neighborhoods. Instead of paying 1/3 of the rent for a single family home (based on a maximum of three renters), the three lessees would seek out additional, sub-rosa renters whose participation then lowered the cost to all the home’s residents.
This provided a tremendous advantage to the owner leasing his property. The owner could maintain a relatively substantial rental rate since he knew that that rental rate would be “affordable” once the three individuals (legal maximum) on the lease found other “renters” to lower their individual costs. This is a distortion of the real demands of the rental market where the sub-rosa renters represent a large number of illegally housed individuals thus falsifying the actual number of individuals requiring affordable housing.
The city tells us, somewhat naively, that it is dealing with growth by attempting to manage the influx of some 1,500 individuals per year (growth estimates) when there is already an existing backlog of illegally and, likely, unsafely housed individuals among the 8,000 or more students who are not in dormitories on-campus. Code enforcement will bring reality to the rental market and a pressure to build sufficient affordable housing for low-income and student renters.
Unfortunately, it is the owner-occupied, single family home residents who have had to pick up the cost of non-enforcement which allows illegal rooming houses on their streets and thus changes the very character of the neighborhood that the city is charged to protect through proper zoning.