Cobb’s resident-cap law serves a purpose
July 16, 2013 11:29 PM | 2549 views | 5 5 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Should Cobb County amend its law that prohibits more than two unrelated adults from sharing a home, regardless of the number of bedrooms it has? We suspect most local residents would answer a strong “no,” despite the recent complaints from a local landlord to the Cobb Planning Commission.

That body last week turned down a request from Dan Beckwith, who wanted to allow his three tenants to stay in the home until next July. They had begun renting the house last summer and attend Kennesaw State University.

The case came to the attention of the county after a neighbor complained about the number of cars in the driveway. Beckwith said he didn’t know about the law and complained that it is too restrictive.

His complaint was echoed by Realtor Chris Norris, who said he had to turn down potential tenants recently who wanted to rent out their three-bedroom home to five people. He and Beckwith complained the law primarily impacts young people and warned it could prevent the county from attracting more young adults.

As a matter of fact, the law is aimed in part at college students. It’s designed to preserve the quality of life in neighborhoods near Cobb’s institutions of higher learning. While many students living off-campus are nose-to-the-grindstone types, there are just as many others for whom partying is the priority and who, have little or no interest in complying with noise, parking, landscape and other restrictions that apply to single-family-home neighborhoods.

The ordinance in question also has another target — that being unscrupulous landlords who rent to those in the country illegally. In fact the ordinance was passed in reaction to the wave of complaints from around the county, especially but not exclusively, from neighborhoods lower on the economic scale in which homes meant for a single family were suddenly being inhabited by a dozen or more adults, often young males but sometimes with multiple children as well. Single-family homes are meant for single families. They are not meant to be dormitories or flophouses, or in the case of those near colleges, unofficial frat houses.

If anything, rather than loosen the law in question, Cobb County should ramp up its enforcement, especially as the economy slowly improves and the number of those flooding here in search of work from south of the border starts going up again.



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July 17, 2013
I lived in a Vinings subdivision that tried to change its HOA rules shortly after this policy was adopted clearly with the intention of not allowing "Mexicans" in. The HOA president even said that was the purpose. They wanted to limit to no rentals. I argued that I was an original owner and had purchased with no limits on rentals. Next they wanted to give no more than 10 permits on rentals. I again argued that I was an original owner and all pre-existing owners would have to be Grandfathered in if they did not waive their rights.

This was clearly written for the Hispanics. It was raciest. You should at least be able to have unrelated individuals who choose to be roommates. But you should not be allowed to rent by the room and not live on the premises.

I know of Hispanic families who will pool their money and then one family will live on the main floor and the second family will live in the basement, which they will finish without permits. So they will have two families with 5-6 people in each living in what we would consider a starter home.
The Big Dawg
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July 17, 2013
I'll repeat what I placed in a companion column.

"The ordinance is NOT to restrictive. If anything, it is not being enforced enough. I live within one mile of KSU and there are several houses that have multiple unrelated tenants living in houses DESIGNED AS SINGLE FAMILY DWELLINGS, NOT "RENT BY THE ROOM UNITS." That is what apartment complexes are for."

And yes, it does need to be better enforced, especially around KSU, specifically the backside of Pinetree Country Club.

Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal - Landlord Policy for rentals too restrictive
BoomerDoomer
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July 17, 2013
The large swath of aging Baby Boomers in Cobb will reap the ugly fruit of their collective attitude towards young people. The college students turned away from reasonable housing situations due to this regulatory overreach will most likely choose not to live in Cobb and opt for the mobility of living within the perimeter.

Who will be left to own property and, vis-a-vis, pay taxes to support the aforementioned large population of older citizens? Who will work in the social, medical and therapeutic industries that Cobb's elderly will not just expect, but demand?

Cobb should be welcoming young people and families and creating an environment conducive to safe, affordable housing. Otherwise, the current divide between older, mostly well-off property owners (who won't pay school taxes!) and the younger, struggling, more transient renters will continue to grow.

The Big Dawg
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July 17, 2013
This has nothing to do with "the ugly fruit of their collective attitude towards young people. If anything, Cobb County has welcomed the growth of KSU, Chattahoochee Tech and Life College and there are adequate housing in and around these schools. I suspect, BoomerDoomer, that you own one of these houses that you cannot sell at the high real estate price from 6 years ago and now you're renting to these kids and you got caught. BTW, I had 3 of my children attend KSU and 2 of them still live and work in the area.
Frat house problems
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July 17, 2013
If you live in a frat house community where property owners are renting out their properties to students, you are qualified to complain. Too many problems in a residential area. The renter/owner doesn't care - he is making money. Plus he doesn't live next door.
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