College roommates receive notice to fix ‘overcrowding’ violation in tenant’s home

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – A group of students are in housing crisis after finding out they only had a few days to leave the house they were renting near Lipscomb University.

Eliza McLaughlin, Shelby Bratcher and their three other college roommates have been served a notice to correct a violation citing “overcrowding” or they will have to vacate their home.

Subway codes say they are not within the guidelines of any code that limits the number of people inside a home. Instead, the letter limits renters to three unrelated adults in the home, citing sections 16 and 17 of Metro’s housing codes. They live in a four-bedroom house with five occupants.

“Yesterday we received a notice in the mail that two of us will have to be absent within five days. Due to an overcrowding violation of the Department of Subway Codes, only three unrelated people could live in the same home,” Shelby Bratcher said.

“Since we’ve been going to Lipscomb we’ve known so many people in the neighborhood who live with more than three people in houses…I could name ten…even some on this street, but for some reason it’s It’s just us, and I’m not sure why that is,” Eliza McLaughlin said.

The letter limits renters to three unrelated adults in the home, citing sections 16.24.030 and 17.04.060 of Metro’s housing codes. They live in a four-bedroom house with five occupants.

“I feel extremely frustrated because I wouldn’t have signed a lease on this house if I thought I was going to be evicted for overcrowding,” McLaughlin said.

These college seniors say they’ve lived here for a year and a half, and trying to find an affordable place in Nashville to move to all of a sudden is stressful.

“As college students, it’s very difficult to pay rent in Nashville just because the cost of living is so high, but when you’re able to break that down into five ways, it’s much more doable if you have to break it down three or two ways,” Bratcher said.

Now they are forced to research other options, but say this particular code needs an update.

“I really think it’s very frustrating for us because we see this code as very unfair, very outdated. We believe it is not followed very often by the metro code department as we know of several students who live with more than four people. Hopefully we can see this change so that no one in the future has to lose their home like we did overnight,” Bratcher said.

The notice says they must correct the violation or quit by September 19.

For now, this seems to be an isolated situation for this group. They also want more clarification on the meaning of the code.

Councilman Freddi O’Connell shared a statement with WSMV 4 explaining the issue.

WSMV 4 has contacted the Metro Code Department but has yet to receive a response.

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