U+2 is the city law stating that no more than 3 unrelated people may live together. According to a new study, 78% of residents say that the law doesn’t affect them. So why should we care?
Even if this doesn’t directly affect you, there are two important reasons to repeal U+2:
1. U+2 is discriminatory against unrelated people who want to live together. Two couples can’t live in the same house. Four college students can’t live together. Four service workers working to make ends meet can’t live together. An elderly couple struggling to pay property tax can’t rent out 2 rooms. This law, intentionally or not, targets lower income earners and makes it more difficult to live in Fort Collins.
2. U+2 drives up the cost of housing. The same study, commissioned by the City, says that U+2 “increases rental demand and contributes to low vacancy rates (and thus cost increases).” Low vacancy rates impact home prices as well as rents.
By driving up rents, U+2 may have the ironic effect of attracting landlords who allow their houses to deteriorate and their tenants to become the neighborhood nuisance that U+2 is supposed to alleviate.
Oh, and then there’s Federal law:
Federal law says that, in general, landlords must allow at least two persons per bedroom. Landlords can be more restrictive only in rare instances. For example, a policy of only three persons in a two-bedroom unit might be acceptable if the landlord can prove it is truly based on the limitations of the plumbing system or some other aspect of the building’s infrastructure. (nolo.com)
The problem that U+2 is meant to address is neighborhood nuisance and excessive traffic and parked cars. We have nuisance codes that are effective in protecting neighborhood quality. Parking permits, car-sharing, and better transit can address the car problem. We don’t need to put landlords in violation of Federal law and tell people who they can and can’t live with.