Austin City Council discusses 'Stealth Dorms' - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Austin City Council discusses 'Stealth Dorms'

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Too many people living under one roof?

That's the complaint many Austin homeowners are having with their neighbors. So they've brought the issue to the City Council.

They're called "Stealth Dorms." Or at least that's what those against them are calling them.

It's a term that basically means something that looks like a house but it's actually more like a mini apartment complex.

According to the website "Stop Stealth Dorms," it's particularly a problem in Central and North Central Austin -- a developer will rent a big house or duplex out to around six unrelated people.

Students are the ones that usually take advantage of this.

And six unrelated people is the legal limit in Austin.

Those that are bringing the fight to city council tonight are hoping to reduce the number to four.

Nuria Zaragoza lives near UT. She realizes many of the complaints about stealth dorms are about the trash piling up and loud parties. But she is more concerned about homes being torn down to make way for these multi-resident structures.

"In my neighborhood at least, a bedroom rents out for $1,000 a month. So when you know you can bring in at least $6,000 a month in rent, it gives an incentive to tear down structures that would otherwise provide affordable housing for both buyers and for tenants," Zaragoza said.

We also talked to a guy named Eric Goff. He's one of five working adults in a house. He's hoping he and his house mates will be grandfathered in.

"If there are students or bad neighbors that are violating the law or violating code they should either talk to them or if that doesn't work call the police. We don't need to fix that with a zoning issue. And you can have four bad neighbors or two bad neighbors just as easily as you can have six bad neighbors," Goff said.

Goff says he's ok with them reducing the limit to four temporarily while the city comes up with a long term plan.

As of news time tonight, the City Council hasn't even gotten to the item yet on the agenda.

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