City Council Approves Mini-Dorm Ordinance

Homes in residential San Diego neighborhoods with at least three bedrooms rented under separate leases would be prohibited under an ordinance unanimously approved by the City Council Monday.

The rooming-house ordinance is intended to cut down on the proliferation of so-called mini-dorms, which are rental properties that are converted to house multiple students.

It is part of a package of laws introduced by Councilman Jim Madaffer in response to complaints by College Area residents that the properties create a nuisance.

"This is really about preserving the quality of life in our neighborhoods," Madaffer said before the vote. "That's what this has been about since day one."

Madaffer represents the area around San Diego State University.

Late last year, the City Council voted to require owners of single-family homes with more than six adult residents to pay $1,000 annually for a high-occupancy permit.

To help alleviate mini-dorms, the City Council also recently approved a series of building code changes, including restricting the number of bedrooms in single-family homes.

Supporters of the laws have long argued that mini-dorms create blight in neighborhoods due to loud parties, parking woes and trash.

"This is the final package of legislation to deal with nuisance rental properties," Doug Case, president of the College Area Community Council, testified.

Alan Pentico, director of public affairs for the San Diego County Apartment Association, said the ordinance would not solve the problems associated with mini-dorms such as noise and bad behavior.

"The proposed rooming-house ordinance will not resolve any of those," Pentico told the council.

He also said it could displace families and students.

The rooming-house ordinance passed by the City Council Monday requires a second reading before it takes effect.

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