Single working professionals say new Provo housing restrictions make them feel unwelcome

Local News

PROVO (News4Utah) – Provo will no longer allow more than three unrelated tenants to live under one roof.

The move dates back to an ordinance passed by City Council in November of 2017.

Council later amended the ordinance to extend the effective date in order to allow sufficient time for people to learn about the new requirements. That effective date is August 1, 2018.

These new requirements require tenants of rental dwellings to sign a disclosure form from a landlord, agreeing to comply with new parking and occupancy rules set by the city.

This new rule has already changed Teanna Rasmussen’s life. After her landlord heard the news, Rasmussen was evicted. She has lived in the city of Provo for five years.

“It seems pretty interesting that instead of attacking the issue, which is parking, they’re pushing individuals out instead,” said Rasmussen. “I think that’s unfortunate that we’re not exploring other options with what we can do with those other individuals and keep them around.”

The move imposes strict penalties — Class B and C misdemeanors. Typically, those who are arrested for public intoxication or the possessing a small amount of drugs receive these punishments. 

Over-occupancy is currently illegal under Provo’s zoning laws. Zoning violations are currently prosecuted as Class C misdemeanors.

“It is true that if you go down some of the streets where this is, you can see wall-to-wall cars on both sides,” said Deputy Mayor, Isaac Paxman. “It’s not what everyone wants in their neighborhood.”

Provo residents received a letter in the mail, directly written for all residential landlords and tenants. The letter asks these residents to acknowledge their compliance with their signature.

The young, single professionals feel they are being targeted and are no longer welcome in Provo; however, City Council does not want them to feel that way.

Ryan Peterson has a business in Provo. He’s been living in the city off and on for ten years.

“For non-students who don’t own homes, this is terrible,” said Peterson. He says with this new law, there are fewer incentives to stay.

Some tenants, including Teanna Rasmussen, have already been evicted.

“After this, I’m really questioning why I lived in Provo,” said Rasmussen. “Why am I investing back into the economy? Why was I encouraging people to live there and that it was a good place?”

The Deputy Mayor in Provo says City Council made this decision.

Mayor Michelle Kaufusi decided not to veto, but she isn’t fighting the City Council’s decision to enforce stricter parking rules.

“We need to be welcoming,” said Paxman. “Yes, we need to do things on the enforcement side. The law needs to be held, but we need to be careful of not alienating this segment of the population.”

Paxman says the mayor’s office is looking for solutions, including the possibility of raising the maximum number of tenants to four instead of three. He says he doesn’t want anyone in this demographic to leave Provo.

“(Young, single, working professionals) are important to our economy,” said Paxman. “These are exactly the kind of people you want in your job pool. Smart, well-rounded, educated types are in this demographic. They are really service-minded.”

City officials welcome feedback about this new restriction. The public is welcome to attend a series of open houses:

Date: Wednesday, June 13
Location: Community Development Department Conference Room
Address: 330 W 100 South
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Date: Wednesday, July 11
Location: Community Development Department Conference Room
Address: 330 W 100 South
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

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