On January 9, the city of Pelham, Alabama passed a housing ordinance that limits the number of adults who can live in single family rental property. The law basically states no more than two adults per bedroom (adult defined as over 19 years old). The law is the result of complaints by residents of too many cars, too much noise and too much trash in and around homes and apartments with way too many people living them. I know first hand. A nice single-family home in my neighborhood was an eyesore until the house was foreclosed. The owner also owned a restaurant and employed all those living in the house. There were always 8 or so cars in the drive, two huge garbage containers, both overflowing, every week and a yard that looked as though no one lived there. When the holder of the mortgage opened the house it was awful. The house, from what I've been told, had to be pretty much gutted. A storage shed in the back was full of rats (the shed was located next to adjoining property) causing a public health risk.
Having this filth in the neighborhood had a negative effect on property values, not to mention the quality of life of the other residents. The renters were illegal Mexicans.
The City of Pelham, responding as it should to concerns and complaints by residents, passed the new law that has the ACLU up in arms, right on cue. The ACLU is concerned because the ordinance singles out renters and requires a registry. From the Shelby County Reporter:
"Pelham's ordinance requires rental property owners keep a list or registry of all occupants in a rented home or apartment. The list would contain the names and ages of each person living within a single dwelling"
Too bad for renters. If owners of rental property were more responsible in the first place there would be no need for this law. Additionally, two adults per bedroom would still allow for six adults in a three-bedroom house and an unlimited number of children. Pretty close quarters, still.
The city of Helena, which adjoins Pelham, on January 15, passed virtually the same ordinance.
Let's hope the leaders in Pelham and Helena ignore the ACLU. This ordinance is good for the cities and should stay on the books. And be strictly enforced.