Oct 102004
 
Authors: Lila Hickey

The Associated Students of CSU’s senate voted unanimously

Wednesday night to pass a resolution calling for the abolishment of

Fort Collins’ three-unrelated ordinance, which mandates that no

more than three unrelated adults may live together in a

residence.

The resolution was written by Courtney Stephens, ASCSU’s

director of community affairs, and sponsored by several of ASCSU’s

senators and directors. Stephens said the resolution is part of an

ongoing fight against the occupancy law, one that ASCSU has been

fighting at least four years.

“Our stance on three-unrelated is that we want it gone,”

Stephens said. “It’s discriminatory.”

The resolution was introduced Sept. 29, sent to the Public

Relations Committee for review, and then returned to the senate

floor on Wednesday for discussion and voting, where it passed

25-0-0, with minor alterations.

The resolution notes that there is not necessarily a causal link

between the behavior of tenants and their relation to one another.

It also makes the point that the most common neighborhood problems

caused by high-occupancy properties are issues related to excessive

noise, trash and improperly parked cars, problems that are all

addressed by other city legislation.

“(Three-unrelated) is rarely enforced as well as difficult to

enforce, which undermines the merit of other laws in Fort Collins,”

the resolution reads.

This is a concern addressed by Lloyd Walker, a Fort Collins

resident and member of the Rolland Moore West Neighborhood Network,

which is actively campaigning for rental licensing.

So many people violate the three-unrelated law, Walker said,

that it weakens its authority as well as that of other Fort Collins

laws.

Stephens also pointed out an inaccuracy in The Collegian’s

‘Students Fear Rental Licensing’ article, Oct. 5. It was

three-unrelated, Stephens said, not rental licensing, that she felt

targeted students. Rental licensing, she said, is only vaguely

defined to date, making it difficult to determine its effect on

students. ASCSU has not yet taken a stance regarding rental

licensing.

“We have no official position,” Stephens said. “It’s basically a

plus-minus list.”

Rental licensing would most likely require landlords to register

all rental properties, and potentially mandate health and safety

regulations and inspections. The action would be positive for

college students, who often do not know whether their housing meets

fire safety code and local health standards.

Ginny Sawyer, of the city of Fort Collins’ neighborhood

resources office, offered a lack of egress, or exit, windows in

basements as an example of building code safety violations at

rental properties. Egress windows, which are required by many city

construction codes, are designed to provide secondary means of

escape from buildings, specifically in case of fire.

“There are probably some (rental properties) that are not

particularly safe,” Sawyer said.

Stephens acknowledged the benefits of safety and health code

inspections for student renters.

“(Rental licensing) could provide better regulated housing, in

that (rental housing) would be up to code,” Stephens said.

At the same time, she is concerned that landlords with

properties needing costly renovations to satisfy health and safety

code will pass these construction costs on to students in the form

of rent increases.

“The benefit of having students in safe housing tends to be a

trade-off,” she said. “There’s a lot of potential cost that’s

unclear.”

Stephens is also concerned that the city may replace

three-unrelated with similar or identical occupancy limit clauses

within rental licensing.

“The big fight is to make sure we do not let (three-unrelated)

into rental licensing,” she said.

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