CS Council Supports Rental Registration RegulationsFeatured Stories, News Tuesday, April 15th, 2014
There’s no opposition among members of the College Station city council to change regulations on rental housing.
No date has been set to take a vote on proposals developed over the last three months with input from neighborhood residents and the owners of rental properties.
The proposal calls for fines up to $2,000 for having more than four unrelated occupants. Property managers Joshua Benn and Jeffrey Leatherwood called for a much more for a much more expensive penalty.041014-Comments-from-Joshua-Benn.mp3
Another property manager, Casey Oldham, is opposed to providing the city with copies of all rental leases and supplying notarized affidavits containing names of renters.041014-Comments-from-Joshua-Benn.mp3
The changes would include:
Amend the existing Rental Registration Ordinance to:
1. Include an administrative process/civil enforcement component to the rental registration ordinance. This change would provide Code Enforcement staff with the option of assessing a fine for violations of the rental registration ordinance. However, the owner/property manager would still be afforded due process. The proposed process could work as follows:
o Notice of violation and citation sent to the owner (regular and certified mail)
o Right to administrative hearing
o Right to appeal (could be hearing before the municipal judge)
o Fine established by City Council as part of the adopting ordinance
o Could also establish higher fines for repeat offenders
2. Change the rental registration ordinance to require a notarized affidavit from the property owner/manager as part of the registration process. The affidavit would acknowledge that the unit is currently not being rented (and will not be rented) to more than four unrelated individuals. The affidavit could also state that the property owner/manager has made each tenant aware of the “no more than four unrelated” provision. As an option, the city could require a signed affidavit from each tenant acknowledge that the unit is not occupied (and will not be occupied) by more than four unrelated individuals.
3. Change the existing language in the rental registration ordinance from “Names and contact information of all persons listed on the current lease shall be retained by the local contact person and shall be presented to the Administrator upon request” to, “All current leases and contact information for all tenants shall be presented to the Administrator upon request.”
Recommended Actions not requiring an ordinance amendment…
1. Increase the number of Code Enforcement personnel as part of the FY 2015 budget. The Code Enforcement Division’s budget was reduced following the economic downturn in 2008 and 2009. Since that time, Code Enforcement has largely been operating in a reactionary mode. Increasing the number of Code Enforcement officers would enable the City to be proactive.
2. Process “more than four unrelated” violations as a UDO (zoning) violation
o A zoning violation would be punishable by a fine of up to $2,000, subject to the discretion of the Municipal Judge
3. Enhanced education / communication – Work to strengthen and improve existing partnerships with TAMU (Aggie Up, Noise Abatement, Walk and Talks, Off-Campus Housing Fair, Living Among Aggies, etc.). City staff could also provide “be a good neighbor” information to brokers, rental property managers, and rental property owners. Additionally, “be a good neighbor”
information could be mailed to each address registered as rental property on an annual basis.
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