The City of Fayetteville's strategic plan describes the type of community the City Council is working to create, maintain and enhance. One of the six main goals identified by the City Council for the last decade has been 'Growing City, Livable Neighborhoods - Great Place to Live.' One component of the City's efforts to achieve that goal centers around the creation of programs focused on residential rental properties throughout Fayetteville.
This page is designed to provide background on the residential rental properties programs that the City is exploring. Additionally, staff will update this page with new information as work continues to develop these programs for City Council's consideration.
Starting in 2007 the City Council directed staff to research the feasibility of creating a program to inspect rental housing units to ensure that these units met the standards of the City's minimum housing code. Since that time the City Council has considered several programs, with the most recent being a Probationary Rental Occupancy Permit, PROP, based on similar programs used in other North Carolina cities.
On April 26, 2011, the City Council adopted a Probationary Rental Occupancy Permit (PROP) program. This program is designed to allow the City to more closely monitor and regulate rental properties that are the site of repeated or severe code violations or that are the site of certain criminal acts. The program would require those rental property owners whose property is the site of such violations or crimes to be placed into PROP and as a condition for renting the offending property again, the owner would be required to obtain a permit from the City. This would allow the City greater oversight of problem rental properties. The program was to be implemented July 1, 2011.
On June 18, 2011, Senate Bill 683 was ratified by the Legislature. The purpose of this Bill was to limit the level of local regulation of rental properties as well as limit the use of periodic inspections. Specifically, it prohibits cities from enforcing an ordinance that requires permitting of rental properties unless the property is the site of more than three violations in a 12-month period or is identified as being in the top 10 percent of properties with crime or disorder problems as set forth in a local ordinance. The language regarding the top 10 percent of properties with crime or disorder problems is based on a program currently utilized in Charlotte. This Bill has a direct impact on the functionality and substance of the PROP program.
Upon adoption of Senate Bill 683, the PROP ordinance is no longer enforceable as drafted. Only one of the ten PROP eligible conditions could possibly be enforced as intended and it would still have to be revised. Furthermore, the ability of the City to charge a permit fee for PROP eligible properties under the current ordinance is doubtful.
On August 8, 2011 staff briefed the City Council on the impacts of SB 683 on PROP. Given the need for the program, City Council directed staff to revise PROP, consistent with state law, and bring back program alternatives as soon as possible.
Staff provided an update on October 3, 2011 with a draft ordinance for PROP II, now titled RAMP (Rental Action Management Program). In developing the draft ordinance and program overview, staff met several times with counterparts in Charlotte regarding their program to determine how staff might be able to replicate it in Fayetteville. Additionally, staff has conducted five stakeholder meetings to explain RAMP and solicit feedback.
City Council held a public hearing regarding the new proposed program on December 12, 2011 to allow interested stakeholders an opportunity to address Council directly. Following the public hearing, the RAMP ordinance was scheduled for consideration of adoption during the January 9, 2012 Council Meeting. Staff responded to several questions, but Council requested an opportunity to explore the topic further during a future Work Session.
The item was discussed further on February 6, 2012, and staff presented a number of revisions to the program in response to Council feedback, including:
- Adding a definition for Apartment Complex and excluding these facilities from administrative application of the ordinance
- Changed the definition of “Residential Rental Property” to include single family homes, duplexes and triplexes, but specifically exempt apartments
- Added Section 14-78, which gives Council the ability to add a property to the RAMP program by ordinance. Problem Apartment Complexes could be added to RAMP through Council action
- Removed the property categories and references to the same
- Added provision specifying that if a property is determined not to meet the Disorder Threshold, registration is not required
- Added an appeal process to the City Council for properties proposed for entry into the program due to criminal activity.
City Council voted on February 27, 2012, during a regular meeting, to approve the RAMP program, with the exemption of apartments. The program will become effective July 1, 2012. Once effective. the City will fine landlords $1,000 for a property that violates three or more code violations in one year or is part of the top 10 percent of properties for police calls and crimes among similar rental properties in the city. Crime analysis will be conducted every half year by the Police Department to determine rankings. Overgrown lots, unsafe buildings and junk vehicles are violations that can be included in the program. When a property enters the program, the property must be free of violations for one year or the owner may not be allowed to rent the property for a year.
In April 2013, RAMP came under attack by the State legislature. City officials, along with members of the Fayetteville community, met with Rep. Bill Brawley in Raleigh April 29, 2013 to discuss House Bill 773, which would greatly weaken Fayetteville's Rental Action Management Program (RAMP). City officials worked with the North Carolina League of Municipalities to organize the meeting with Rep. Brawley.
Under the house bill, which was passed by the House and now moves to the Senate, sponsored by Rep. Brawley and three other representatives, the RAMP program would be very difficult to enforce and probably impractical as an ordinance.
RAMP is already making a change for the better for Fayetteville residents. Code enforcement numbers indicate that rental property owners are taking heed to RAMP's purpose of improving citizens' quality of life. To date, 66 properties have received code enforcement warning notices for code violations. Of the 66, only seven have been required to register in the RAMP program after receiving a third code violation. Based on research completed before the RAMP program was enacted, City staff estimated that 85 properties would have been required to register at this point in time.
Since the bill has moved to the Senate, the City is working to try to prevent the bill's passage.
This letter discusses HB 773 and is written by Mayor Tony Chavonne to Sen. Meredith.
- November 7, 2011 City Council Work Session Briefing Materials
- November 7, 2011 City Council Work Session Power Point Presentation (PDF)
- December 12, 2011 City Council Work Session Briefing Materials
- RAMP Q&A - December 15, 2011
- January 9, 2012 City Council Work Session Briefing Materials
- RAMP Q&A - January 19, 2012
- February 6, 2012 City Council Work Session Briefing Materials
- February 6, 2012 City Council Work Session Power Point Presentation (PDF)
- 2012 Fayetteville Police Department Annual Report