To avoid fines, Bernard Carman, a Montford landowner involved in a dispute over city zoning rules that prohibit more than five unrelated tenants from living in his eight-bedroom house, says three tenants are leaving in order to comply with the rules.
Photo by Jonathan Welch
“I have been forced to comply, meaning I had to reduce my occupancy to 5 total,” Carman writes in an e-mail to Xpress.
Carman has shared the three-story house with seven tenants since buying the property 22 years ago. However, after a complaint from a neighbor about an abandoned car, city officials found out that the number of people living in the house exceeded the amount allowed in single-family zoning. City and state rules define a “single-family” unit as no more than five unrelated people. “That means there are 3 less affordable housing opportunities here in Montford, and i am having to increase the rent (to some degree) on the remaining four, all because of arbitrary and draconian legislation at both the city and state levels.”
If he had not complied by reducing the number of tenants in the house, Carman was facing fines of about $100 a day.
While denser housing is ostensibly one of the city’s goals, staff have defended the rules, asserting that unrelated people are less likely to help each other in case of an emergency and that more than five unrelated people creates unacceptable levels of noise for a single-family neighborhood.
— David Forbes, senior news reporter