Feb 242005
Authors: James Baetke

An economic and market study looking at the demographics of Fort Collins' three-unrelated law finds that an estimated 5,003 people will have to find new living arrangements if the law is properly enforced.

The study was finished late last week and made public this week. The findings cost the city about $37,000, said Kevin Raines, president of Corona Research Inc., the company that has been working on the project since January.

The three-unrelated law states that houses cannot have more than three unrelated residents living in them at one time.

The 80-plus-page study concludes the following information, based on estimates, if the three-unrelated ordinance were strongly enforced:

* 1,070 rental units are in violation of the ordinance

* A total of 5,003 renters would need to change their living arrangements and their rental costs are expected to increase by at least $100 per month

* Overall, 71 percent of violators are college students

* 1,070 households will disappear from the rental market and 2,261 smaller ones will appear

* An increased demand for rental units between the $550 to $775 price range will become a significant demand in Fort Collins and housing units that top the $1,000 mark will decrease in demand

* 64 percent of violators are only slightly over the ordinance limit with four people sharing a housing unit

"The goal was to provide facts and figures," Raines said.

The study looks at the impact if the three-unrelated law were enforced as it should be, Raines said. He said the study was not designed to make a specific recommendation and is only an estimate based on many pieces of collected data.

"A lot of work is based on Census data," Raines said.

Census data, demographic sampling and public telephone surveys were among the data used to draw the report's conclusion.

Marty Tharp, councilwoman for District 5, said the survey does not show the "whole picture."

"It is only a piece of the pie. It helps gives us a basis for part of our decision," Tharp said.

Tharp said she was surprised by some of the data. Tharp expected to see more violators, based on all the complaints that have come through the city. She said the study might prove that a complaint-only basis for handing out three-unrelated violations may be more feasible of an approach but is still searching for another solution.

Tom Loran, member of the Rolland Moore West Neighborhood Network, said the report proves students are being "manipulated" by greedy landlords.

"This has zero to do with the students. Nobody is saying we cannot have students here," Loran said.

Speaking on his opinion and not that of the neighborhood network, Loran said it is unfair for business owners such as he to respect laws and mandates while property owners can get away with breaking the three-unrelated law.

"Why are we the villains because we are asking for the rules to be enforced?" Loran said.

Loran wants this study to persuade the city that the three-unrelated law should be enforced but at the same time give violators time to look for other housing options.

"I do not want anybody kicked out on the street," Loran said.

The study also found that there is a strong correlation between violator households and the non-violator residents who live near them in reporting problems such as disruptive parties, poorly maintained houses, loud noise, parking issues and criminal activity.

Log onto www.fcgov.com/rental to access the full report.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.