- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - A proposal to reduce the number of unrelated people living together in a single rental unit has received initial approval from Cedar Falls officials.

The Cedar Falls City Council voted 5-2 Monday to move the proposal forward, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported (https://bit.ly/1AHQYa8 ). The council must consider the proposal twice more for it to officially pass.

Under the proposal, stricter limits would be placed on all rental dwellings in the city. At some properties, particularly newly registered rental properties, the maximum number of unrelated people renting together would change from four to as few as two.

The proposal also requires for any existing rental property that’s sold or transferred to change its maximum occupancy from four to three unrelated people if it meets certain criteria. Four-person occupancy could be maintained if the property has a parking space for each individual.

Council members have recently considered other such rental regulations, particularly regarding the conversion of single-family homes into rental properties. A six-month moratorium on such conversions was imposed in August.

Council member Jim Stichter told The Associated Press that Monday’s vote and the moratorium are a result of a task force’s recommendations to address concerns about the “changing character of Cedar Falls neighborhoods.” He did not provide more details, but said the next reading of the proposal will be Feb. 2.

Local real estate agents say the proposal could be harmful to the city’s rental and housing markets, and told the council that housing values have fallen since the moratorium.

“If it gets down to where you can only have two unrelated persons in a house, that’s pretty restrictive,” local real estate agent Tim Rogers said. “We’re taking a whole group of buyers out of our market … I’m disappointed that the city hasn’t looked at it from several different angles.”

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Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, https://www.wcfcourier.com

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