Oct 042004
 
Authors: Lila Hickey

Going to a city council meeting is hardly a normal Tuesday night

for most CSU students.

Courtney Stephens, director of community affairs for the

Associated Students of CSU, hopes that tonight that will be

different.

Stephens is urging students to attend tonight’s city council

meeting and voice concerns about the new rental-licensing plan the

council is considering.

Landlords would be required to get a license to lease their

property to renters. Although specific details have not been

outlined, rental licensing, which has been implemented in a variety

of college towns across the United States, is usually used to

increase landlord and tenant responsibility for nuisance behavior,

parking problems, health and safety issues and the number of

tenants occupying any one property.

Fort Collins has a three-unrelated law that mandates that no

more than three unrelated adults may live in the same house. This

law causes problems for many students because they violate the law

to keep their rent costs low, Stephens said.

In many situations, she said, students rent houses with enough

bedrooms and parking facilities for more than three renters. Only

three people are listed on the rental agreement, but the students

add roommates to further divide rent costs.

This puts the listed tenants in a dangerous position. If one of

the unlisted roommates violates the rental agreement, there is no

legal recourse for the registered tenants, since they are already

violating Fort Collins’ law.

Rental licensing could change the city’s occupancy laws,

although the lack of detailed plans makes it hard to anticipate its

effects on students.

Rental licensing would also classify rental properties as

businesses, which would require landlords to undergo licensing

processes and possible property inspections, leading to expensive

renovations.

The cost of these renovations, Stephens fears, may increase rent

for students.

“That is the main worry for students,” she said. “If you have

properties that are under code that need thousands of dollars worth

of renovations, that cost could be passed on to the students.”

Stephens also worries that rental licensing targets students,

because many of the city’s renters are students.

“It is somewhat discriminatory in that it is targeted at student

populations,” she said.

Lloyd Walker, a member of Rolland Moore West Neighborhood

Network, which supports rental licensing in Fort Collins,

disagreed.

“I don’t think there’s any particular discrimination against

students in general, there’s a problem with students who don’t

respect the neighborhoods they’re in,” Walker said.

Robin Armstrong, who runs 51 rental properties with her husband,

worries licensing regulations would be costly for landlords, as

well as difficult, if not impossible to enforce. She also worries

that, as a landlord, she would not be able to monitor the

renters.

One major concern that rental licensing would address is

nuisance complaints on rental properties. Complaints range from

noise violations and loud, late-night parties to renters using more

parking spaces than neighbors think is fair.

Armstrong thinks the idea of holding landlords responsible for

their tenants’ behavior is impractical.

“So how do we know (what they’re doing) unless we go spy on them

every weekend?” she said.

Anthony Smith, a broker associate for Keller Williams Realty,

said he believes the purpose of rental licensing is to keep student

renters out of certain neighborhoods.

“It’s intolerance,” he said. “The stuff that they complain about

is stuff anyone could do. We’re talking people who will call and

complain because trash day is Thursday and the trash was put out on

Tuesday.”

Walker said that nuisance problems are more of a concern than

landlords realize. He said that violations of the three-unrelated

law are common in his neighborhood, and disregard for the law

encourages violations of other property issues.

Melisse Anderson, who lives in the Rolland Moore West area, said

that problems in her neighborhood include unsightly and uncared-for

properties.

“We’ve had major trash and rubbish left out on front yards and

driveways that is left there for weeks. People leave their trash

can out in front of their garage door, and (city) code says trash

cans should be screened from view,” Anderson said.

Stephens encouraged students to attend the city council meeting

at 6 tonight at 300 LaPorte Ave. Early in the meeting, she said,

there will be a time for gallery input when students can address

concerns about rental licensing.

 

Let your voice be heard at city

council tonight

Fort Collins City Council

300 LaPorte Ave.

6 p.m. tonight

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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