Contact: Leigh Britt
Neighborhood Services Manager
On Jan. 7, the Columbia City Council adopted an occupancy disclosure ordinance to raise awareness for tenants, rental property owners and buyers and sellers of real estate about the limitations zoning places on the number of occupants in a residential unit.
The ordinance requires that real estate agents, real estate brokers and property managers provide the buyer or lessee of residential property information on the zoning district of the property and the occupancy limits found in Chapter 29 of city ordinance. It also requires that anyone leasing or subleasing rental property must provide the tenant with the zoning district of the property and the occupancy limits through the written lease or by use of a zoning occupancy disclosure form provided by the City of Columbia. New or renewal leases, including month-to-month leases, written starting Feb. 1, 2013, must comply with this ordinance.
"The purpose of this ordinance is to make sure that all parties are aware of the occupancy limitations required through Columbia's zoning ordinance," said Leigh Britt, Neighborhood Services manager for the City of Columbia. "There continue to be neighborhoods affected by additional noise, trash and traffic because of over-occupancy. This new ordinance is a tool to help address these issues and also ensure safe housing for our residents."
Properties in the R-1 zoning district and Planned Unit Developments (PUD) with a density of five units to the acre and less have a limit of three unrelated occupants. All other zoning districts may have four unrelated occupants. Residential units must also comply with the definition of a family as found in city ordinance.
Columbia follows other communities that are also using occupancy disclosures as a tool to protect neighborhoods including Ft. Collins and Boulder, Colo.; Iowa City, Iowa; and West Lafayette, Ind.
The City of Columbia website includes more information on the new ordinance, including a link to the city map where zoning district information can be found, the disclosure form and answers to questions the city has received. Search for "Occupancy Disclosure" at www.GoColumbiaMo.com. More information is also available from the city's Office of Neighborhood Services by calling 817-5050.