Greenville Mayor Looks At Changing 3 Roommates Limit Law

By: April Davis/ Hilary Magacs
By: April Davis/ Hilary Magacs

If you are renting to a lot of roommates you could be breaking the law in Greenville, but city council members are considering allowing exceptions.

The law in Greenville says no more than 3 unrelated people can live together. Mayor Allen Thomas, along with several landlords and a few people who live near East Carolina University say they support allowing landlords with large homes to apply for special use permits to rent to more than three people. They say doing so would mean more homes could be rented instead of standing empty, and say landlords would make the money they need to maintain the homes.

Some residents and city council members are against the idea, saying it could lead to more noise and people parking on lawns because of lack of space. Councilwoman Marion Blackburn says it could also make renting a home more valuable then selling it and reduce the likelihood of adding more homeowners in the city.

"When I can put 6 people in a house, all of the sudden, I can charge those 6 people that same price point, but I'm getting twice the money. Which is going to mean that house, before I sell it, is going to be worth a lot more in monthly rent than it's going to be in terms of selling to a home," said Blackburn.

Blackburn says the council will likely take a closer look at the issue within the next six months.


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  • by Graham Location: Greenville on Mar 15, 2012 at 12:30 PM
    A simple solution to me is to have the landlord apply for a special use permit on a two year basis to allow more than three tennants inhabit a house. The landlord must also have a basic inspection upon filing the application to inspect the utilities, parking options, actual living space, etc. That way the city makes money on the permit and the landlord is making more money for more roommates.
  • by NC_Dave on Mar 13, 2012 at 07:38 AM
    I would prefer to have multiple students over Section 8 housing in the University area. When I was in school people could walk the streets at all hours without fear of being mugged. This will not completely fix that problem but I see it as a step in the right direction. More students in the University area can only improve the area, even if they rent.
  • by DP Location: eastern n c on Mar 12, 2012 at 02:07 PM
    ECU should just by buy all those houses tear them down and build student parking
  • by Lilley on Mar 11, 2012 at 07:09 PM
    I would love to see some of these older, larger homes be renovated and fixed up! It seems that the only people making improvements to homes are the landlords in the area and its not worth it for a landlord to renovate a larger home if he can only rent it to 3 students....
  • by Barbara on Mar 11, 2012 at 07:06 PM
    Does anyone find it odd that no more than 3 students can live in a large home in the university area, while you can pack 10 people in small home just because they are related??? This seems both discriminatory and exclusive to people just because they are in college!
  • by Sheila on Mar 11, 2012 at 06:47 PM
    I live in the University Area and support changing the law to allow more than 3 roommates in one home! With the hard economic times, allowing more students to share expenses of a home enables students to have more affordable housing and to be able to live in homes that otherwise they couldn't afford. By providing more security to landlords to be able to keep properties rented, they are more likely to invest more money towards improvements, thereby increasing the property value of everyone's home in the area. As properties are improved, crimes in neighborhoods tend to decrease.
  • by Formerly O.L.I. Location: ENC on Mar 11, 2012 at 07:57 AM
    Does a fire code apply to people who rent? Wouldn't it set precedence on how many 'renters' can safely occupy a dwelling of a certain size? Mind you, I'm only talking about people who rent.
  • by John on Mar 10, 2012 at 05:48 PM
    After voting for Alan I am becoming disappointed in his priorities the first 120 days as Mayor. I encouraged others to support Alan for his promise to promote healthy neighborhoods & ability to promote the positive of Gville. His chosen alignment w/Rose Glover & Max Glover is puzzling. Max is known as the "go to" for slum lords & Rose very discriminatory outside west Gville. It is no secret successful communities maintain the 3 unrelated rule. Why would Alan want to pursue a policy that would move us in the direction of Detroit, Newark & Rocky Mount. Do we have a political trade off going on here? As both a resident home owner and property landlord I have great concern for the future of Greenville. Will we all soon have to move out in the low lands of Pitt county or Triangle? Do we have a Mayor recall option?
  • by Anonymous on Mar 10, 2012 at 05:06 PM
    Keep it the way it is. Houses should be primarily lived in by owners. There are plenty of apartments available for the students. Preserve the dignity of the neighborhoods for hard working people seeking the American dream of home ownership.
  • by Judy on Mar 10, 2012 at 03:22 PM
    I don't live in Greenville but do know of several landlords who rent to more than 3 now. How is this enforced now? Might as well make a change is it is not enforced.
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