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    New city housing code?

    Anybody see this today in the Daily?
    A new housing code for the City of Ames that's been in the works:

    New rental housing code could raise rent

    My girlfriend pointed it out. This looks all fine and dandy, and was probably needed... but I want to point out the first "highlight" point at the bottom of the article:

    " No more than three unrelated persons in a unit."

    Now, when I read "unit", I read something like "apartment".
    So unless by "unit" they mean "bedroom" or something, I find such a policy to be completely outrageous.

    That being said, my girlfriend and I both looked through the City of Ames webpage that the article links to, and after skimming through it, didn't find any mention of new limitations on the number of unrelated people living in a "unit", or even what that "unit" might refer to.

    So I'm throwing this out to you, the fine community here at CF:
    Anybody have any idea if there is any sort of validity to this? Anyone with inside info or connections with City of Ames policymakers?

    Or is the Daily just completely wrong, and published wrong info / made a typo / etc...?



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    Re: New city housing code?

    Quote Originally Posted by Skyh13 View Post
    Anybody see this today in the Daily?
    A new housing code for the City of Ames that's been in the works:

    New rental housing code could raise rent

    My girlfriend pointed it out. This looks all fine and dandy, and was probably needed... but I want to point out the first "highlight" point at the bottom of the article:

    " No more than three unrelated persons in a unit."

    Now, when I read "unit", I read something like "apartment".
    So unless by "unit" they mean "bedroom" or something, I find such a policy to be completely outrageous.

    That being said, my girlfriend and I both looked through the City of Ames webpage that the article links to, and after skimming through it, didn't find any mention of new limitations on the number of unrelated people living in a "unit", or even what that "unit" might refer to.

    So I'm throwing this out to you, the fine community here at CF:
    Anybody have any idea if there is any sort of validity to this? Anyone with inside info or connections with City of Ames policymakers?

    Or is the Daily just completely wrong, and published wrong info / made a typo / etc...?
    That part of the rule has been on the books for years. Two year ago I lived in a house on Hyland with 6 other guys. One of them was my brother, and two of the other guys were cousins, but the City had no idea. Basically, if your landlord doesn't care, the City won't know.


    In 1984, I was hospitalized for approaching perfection.

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    Re: New city housing code?

    Yea, the three people to a unit has been there for a while. It is hardly ever followed from what I can tell. My landlords just said to not have more than three of us use the house as our address via Iowa State for their mailings.


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    Re: New city housing code?

    Several years ago my wife went through this. They had four people in a house. The inspector said that he didn't care as long as they didn't get complaints from the neighbors. In general, if you don't bother others by having a lot of cars in the street or being loud then you'll be fine.



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    Re: New city housing code?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclone62 View Post
    Yea, the three people to a unit has been there for a while. It is hardly ever followed from what I can tell. My landlords just said to not have more than three of us use the house as our address via Iowa State for their mailings.
    The limits on how many unrelated people can share a unit (apartment or house) have been enforced more vigorously the past two or three years, especially if the unit lies within a mixed neighborhood; that is, if it is in an area where there are some single family homes. Reasons given for the rule is that too many people in a given unit cause noise and sanitation problems (i.e., too many cars, spilled garbage, etc.)
    If landlords are telling prospective renters that it is okay to violate this ordinance, they need to be aware that the fines are stiff; first offense is, if I recall rightly, $500, and doubles with the second offense. I live in Campustown in an area that has plenty of older single people, retired couples, young families, etc., and I can tell you that in such neighborhoods (not Hunt St. of course), this ordinance is most likely to be enforced. This is especially true if such a unit houses folks who in one way or another call attention to themselves.



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    Re: New city housing code?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kitkat View Post
    The limits on how many unrelated people can share a unit (apartment or house) have been enforced more vigorously the past two or three years, especially if the unit lies within a mixed neighborhood; that is, if it is in an area where there are some single family homes. Reasons given for the rule is that too many people in a given unit cause noise and sanitation problems (i.e., too many cars, spilled garbage, etc.)
    If landlords are telling prospective renters that it is okay to violate this ordinance, they need to be aware that the fines are stiff; first offense is, if I recall rightly, $500, and doubles with the second offense. I live in Campustown in an area that has plenty of older single people, retired couples, young families, etc., and I can tell you that in such neighborhoods (not Hunt St. of course), this ordinance is most likely to be enforced. This is especially true if such a unit houses folks who in one way or another call attention to themselves.
    So, if you're renting a house with 4 bedrooms, it's unsanitary to have that many people living there?

    I understand the intent to keep from having 10 people living in a 3 bedroom house, but it's ridiculous to think that only 3 people should live in a 6 BR house.


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    Re: New city housing code?

    It all depends on the zoning district you are in, I believe. Here is the zoning map: http://www.cityofames.org/attorneywe...ng_Map_web.pdf

    The way it has been now for a few years is that the "high density" zoning districts have no limitations on the amount of people you can have per unit. These are typically where you will see the apartment complexes in Ames. Its when you get into the "medium density" and "low density" zoning districts you are limited to 3 unrelated persons. The new housing code that you see has been in the works for some time now, and to my knowledge they are not changing the limits on the "high density" zoning districts (if they did, they really would not be at high densities anymore).

    Although it is Ames, and nothing would surprise me!



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    Re: New city housing code?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kitkat View Post
    The limits on how many unrelated people can share a unit (apartment or house) have been enforced more vigorously the past two or three years, especially if the unit lies within a mixed neighborhood; that is, if it is in an area where there are some single family homes. Reasons given for the rule is that too many people in a given unit cause noise and sanitation problems (i.e., too many cars, spilled garbage, etc.)
    If landlords are telling prospective renters that it is okay to violate this ordinance, they need to be aware that the fines are stiff; first offense is, if I recall rightly, $500, and doubles with the second offense. I live in Campustown in an area that has plenty of older single people, retired couples, young families, etc., and I can tell you that in such neighborhoods (not Hunt St. of course), this ordinance is most likely to be enforced. This is especially true if such a unit houses folks who in one way or another call attention to themselves.
    We lived at the corner of Hyland and Lincoln Way, and in all directions the neighboring units were apartments or houses rented to students. Everyone in the neighborhood threw parties, and I'm almost sure there were next to no regular homes there. If there were, they were VERY understanding of the college life style.


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    Re: New city housing code?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kitkat View Post
    The limits on how many unrelated people can share a unit (apartment or house) have been enforced more vigorously the past two or three years, especially if the unit lies within a mixed neighborhood; that is, if it is in an area where there are some single family homes. Reasons given for the rule is that too many people in a given unit cause noise and sanitation problems (i.e., too many cars, spilled garbage, etc.)
    I would sat 90% of the reason Ames did this was because when you have 5 or 6 unrelated persons living in a unit there becomes an overwhelming shortage on parking, and there was a lot of parking of cars in the front yards of the rental houses in the Campustown area. There was a huge petition that went to the city council that was signed by neighbors who had enough of the "eyesore".



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    Re: New city housing code?

    Quote Originally Posted by Al_4_State View Post
    We lived at the corner of Hyland and Lincoln Way, and in all directions the neighboring units were apartments or houses rented to students. Everyone in the neighborhood threw parties, and I'm almost sure there were next to no regular homes there. If there were, they were VERY understanding of the college life style.
    I lived at the corner of Wilmoth and Story Street. Same story there.


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    Re: New city housing code?

    Quote Originally Posted by chuckd4735 View Post
    It all depends on the zoning district you are in, I believe. Here is the zoning map: http://www.cityofames.org/attorneywe...ng_Map_web.pdf

    The way it has been now for a few years is that the "high density" zoning districts have no limitations on the amount of people you can have per unit. These are typically where you will see the apartment complexes in Ames. Its when you get into the "medium density" and "low density" zoning districts you are limited to 3 unrelated persons. The new housing code that you see has been in the works for some time now, and to my knowledge they are not changing the limits on the "high density" zoning districts (if they did, they really would not be at high densities anymore).

    Although it is Ames, and nothing would surprise me!
    Thanks for the insight and the link. That makes a bit more sense.



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    Re: New city housing code?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclone62 View Post
    So, if you're renting a house with 4 bedrooms, it's unsanitary to have that many people living there?

    I understand the intent to keep from having 10 people living in a 3 bedroom house, but it's ridiculous to think that only 3 people should live in a 6 BR house.
    You have a point with the four bedroom issue--that is a close call--but it depends in part on how a house got those four bedrooms; some have added a fourth by merely carving up the living room or putting a so-called bedroom in a damp, dark basement. (I am talking now not about apartment bldgs. but formerly single family homes.) Any carpenter can put up a non-load-bearing wall in a few hours and then call the new space a bedroom.
    About your second example or issue: I have lived in Campustown for many years and don't know of any legitimate six-bedroom houses; there may be some, but I am skeptical. I also am against landlords who do such "alterations" in order to milk as much as they can from substandard structures and from students.



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    Re: New city housing code?

    Quote Originally Posted by Al_4_State View Post
    We lived at the corner of Hyland and Lincoln Way, and in all directions the neighboring units were apartments or houses rented to students. Everyone in the neighborhood threw parties, and I'm almost sure there were next to no regular homes there. If there were, they were VERY understanding of the college life style.
    Yes, that was probably the case; that's why I qualified my remarks about enforcement. The enforcement is much more likely to take place in a neighborhood that is only partly made up of students. Yet I have spoken with more than one city official who told me that the majority of complaints the city received about student behaviors came from other students. I was very surprised about that, but the more I thought about it, the more I tended to understand it.



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    Re: New city housing code?

    I have friends that live in a 5 bedroom house. How they worked around this was that the landlord had the place listed as a duplex (top floor, bottom floor). Just had a door at the top of the stairs and and an exit from the top floor. I think this might be what a lot of places are like.



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