Local News

Raleigh Considers Inspections, Licenses For Rental Property Owners

Posted March 12, 2004

— Raleigh is home to 54,000 rental properties -- almost half the housing units in the city. Under the current law, those units are not inspected by the city, but that may change for many of them.

As the city considers cracking down on the people who own rental houses, some landlords are organizing a fight against it.

"When I lived here in early 1978, this was a smaller street, no curb, no gutter -- none of that fancy stuff," said rental property owner Alexander Nixon of a house near North Carolina State University.

Those are not the only things that have changed.

"What looks like individual houses were owner occupied. Now, none of them are," he said.

"While many landlords are responsible and the tenants are very responsible, I think you've got a growing number that are not and that's where we're getting the rundown properties, noise violations, parking violations," said Councilwoman Janet Cowell.

Cowell and Nixon are on Raleigh's Neighborhood Preservation and Housing Task Force.

The task force is making recommendations on ways to improve rentals, but landlords like Henry Bergdolt have problems with many of the recommendations.

The recommendations include requiring inspections of single-family homes converted to multifamily use and requiring a license to operate a rental house. Landlords who own duplexes would also have to be licensed.

"The tenants are the ones who are really going to lose, because this overhead is going be charged to someone and if the property owner isn't going to be able to absorb all of it, the tenants are going be stuck with it," Bergdolt said.

"Having a licensing would help us track where the rental houses are and proactively stop problems before they start," Cowell said.

There is no stopping the controversy. It has already started and the recommendations, which are currently in a city council committee, have yet to make it to the full city council.

The Wake County Apartment Association and the Triangle Real Estate Investment Association have started spreading the word to its membership.

The groups plan to start a letter writing campaign to city council members and show up at council meetings to protest when this does come before the full council.

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