Rooming House Ordinance
On September 7, 2000, the City Commission adopted the "Rooming House Ordinance" to address concerns about dormitory style housing in existing single-family residential neighborhoods. The ordinance was adopted in response to concerns that when a large number of people rented rooms in one home, there were sometimes negative side effects such as cars parked in the yard, frequent parties and other disturbances. The Rooming House Ordinance was designed to help protect the character and stability of our neighborhoods, while also respecting individual property rights.
A registration process was established to "grandfather" existing dormitory style housing in single-family residential neighborhoods. Unless the property owner registered the house as an existing non-conforming use on or before June 1, 2001, no dwelling could continue to be used as a rooming housing in the RP-1, RP-2, R-1 or R-2 single-family residential zoning districts. Additionally, no new rooming houses would be permitted in RP-1, RP-2, R-1 or R-2. As part of the registration process, property owners were required to appoint an agent, who lives in Leon County, as the person responsible for the property. The designated agent must be available to be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The agent is the party designated to receive all notices from the City concerning the use of the property.
As part of the Rooming House Ordinance, a process was established to address problems that may occur at grandfathered rooming houses. A Rooming House Code Board has been established to make the final decision about whether a registered rooming house that has been the source of complaints will lose its status as a non-conforming use.
The City has compiled a list of registered rooming houses. The list contains the address of all registered rooming houses and the name and telephone number of the agent responsible for the rooming house. This information has been provided to enable neighbors to contact the designated agent for the property in the event that problems occur. If you have more questions, or wish for more information on how to register a complaint, please visit our Points of Contact page.
Points of Contact
1. Zoning Enforcement
The Growth Management Department (GMD) responds to calls concerning whether a home is being used as a rooming house. The GMD inspector will visit the home and investigate the complaint, determine if the home is in one of the "prohibited" zoning districts (R-1, R-2, RP-1 and RP-2), determine if the home is registered as a nonconforming rooming house, if in one of the zoning districts, and initiate appropriate zoning enforcement action, as necessary. For more information or to report a potential rooming house violation, one may call 891-7001, option 3.
2. Rooming House Registration
Although the registration period ended on June 1, 2001, the Growth Management Department maintains the list of homes that were properly registered by that date. The Department staff can determine if a home has been registered as a rooming house if it is in one of the four zoning districts where such homes are prohibited. You may call 891-7001, option 4 for this information.
3. Rezoning of Properties
The Planning Department answers questions pertaining to the rezoning of properties relative to rooming house issues, specifically which districts will allow or prohibit rooming houses, and processes the rezoning applications, when filed. If a property is rezoned from a zoning district allowing rooming houses to a zoning district that does not permit rooming houses, the Planning Department is responsible for notifying property owners whose zoning changed that they have 30 days from the date the rezoning was approved by the City Commission to register an existing rooming house with the Growth Management Department. Phone 891-8600.
4. Code Enforcement
The Neighborhood Preservation Division enforces the City's codes that relate to property maintenance issues. Examples of the type of codes that fall under this division's jurisdiction are Offensive Accumulation & Overgrowth (high weeds and grass and trash/debris), Abandoned and Non-Operating Vehicles, and Substandard or Dangerous Housing conditions. The division's role as it directly relates to the Rooming House Ordinance, has City Code Enforcement Officers inspect for "care of premises" occurrences especially in the aftermath of partying taking place at problem locations. To report problems where we can assist, please call 891-7001, option 3, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or leave a message on the Code Enforcement Hotline number which is 891-CODE (2633).
5. Law Enforcement Operations
The enhanced enforcement operation coordinates efforts between the Police Department and Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs with the primary responsibility assumed by the Police Department. Their strategies include:
- Aggressive enforcement of the laws relative to noise violations. Officers encountering obvious violations of the noise laws will take enforcement action upon the first visit, without the need for an initial warning to the violator.
- A visit by a police and code enforcement officers to all problem properties the following morning to insure code violations have been corrected, e.g., parking issues, removal of litter and debris, etc., and to insure the tenants/ property owners are informed of the intent to intensify and strictly and severely enforce future violations of statutes.
- Rental property owners are advised of police and code actions taken against their tenants and/or guests.
- Officers/patrols have at hand information relative to the number of visits, regardless of enforcement action or lack there of, taken on previous occasions, and;
- Increase the level of pro-active enforcement by zone officers.
- Officers are required to indicate via radio disposition codes when they answer a call at a rooming house that may be a violation. Our Communications section forwards that information to Code Enforcement and Growth Management.
For information or assistance, please call TPD Operations site or call 891-4200.