Property renters likely to pickup new fees

June 17, 2008 5:36:58 PM PDT
The cost of owning a rental property is going up in Raleigh, and the tab will likely be passed along to the tens of thousands of tenants in the Capital City.

Across Raleigh there are about 75,000 rental houses, apartments and condos.

Soon, the cost of doing business will rise for landlords; if you rent, you could see a hike, too.

The city council voted 5 to 3 Tuesday afternoon to adopt several changes to rules governing landlords.

They will now require owners who rent out residential property to register with the city - and pay a fee of $30 for their first property and $10 for each additional unit.

Proponents say the fees are needed to create a database and keep better track of landlords. Opponents say it's a terrible time for any additional fees - and there is fear it'll be passed directly to tenants.

"This goes so far overboard, where you're starting to penalize folks who really run good communities, who run good rental properties," said City Council Member Philip Isley. "People may scoff at a $10 fee or a $30 fee, but you know when someone's barely hanging on, they're in default of their lease already? $10 is significant."

There's another element to this as well that has some landlords upset.

Until now, if there was a loud party, or a noise or nuisance violation at a rental property, the tenant would face the penalty, often in the form of a misdemeanor charge.

Under new rules - the burden shifts somewhat to landlords. Moving forward, tenants will get a $100 citation instead of a misdemeanor charge, and landlords will get a "strike" against them.

Three strikes and a landlord has to pay a large fine of $500 a year for two years and attend management classes.

Some property managers say it'll lead to quicker evictions.

"You're gonna see a lot more people out on the street looking for other places to live because landlords and investment property owners aren't going to give a second chance," said Jesse Sorrell, a property manager. "They're not going to be willing sit down to try to work out the situation that might give the person another opportunity."

The new rules will go into effect in January.


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