To the editor:
As the city codes are now enforced, it is apparently easy to cheat and fill rental houses with many more occupants than allowed by city codes. Codes in single-family zoned neighborhoods are intended to protect affordable housing stock for families and neighbors from disruptive renters. No more than three unrelated individuals are allowed to live in a house in this zoning area. In multi-family neighborhoods, codes are intended to protect density and the livability of an area. No more than four unrelated individuals may live in a house in this zoning area.
Many landlords rent to more persons than allowed. Renting a home to six or eight people naturally brings in a much higher rent — $500 (a common individual rent) times 6 or 8 equals $3,000 to $4,000 a month. While the money is good for the landlord, there is often a negative impact on the neighborhood. Restoration of older homes becomes even more difficult as home prices are driven up by the money they can generate versus the physical condition of the home.
City codes, just like laws, are made to create order, civility and planning for healthy communities. Rule breakers create problems for everyone. There is always a process to change codes if they are unfair. Presently there is only a rental inspection program in single-family zoned neighborhoods. I hope that the city will seriously look into more effective ways to enforce their present blight codes and consider future rental inspections in multi-family zoned neighborhoods. City code enforcement officers cannot do their jobs without meaningful enforcement tools.