City council passes housing rental program

News Reporter

The San Marcos City Council passed an ordinance Tuesday that will establish consequences for multiple noise, trash and parking violations.

The rental nuisance abatement program will help to reduce violations in homes within the city. Residents of rented homes who have two or more notices of violation or citation must register with the program. The program was created to increase violation notification, make long-term solutions and reward good properties or management. It will create the ability to suspend use of underperforming properties and provide application of rules to rent.

Councilmembers voted 5-1 in favor of Ordinance 2015-11, with Mayor Daniel Guerrero absent. Councilman Ryan Thomason, Place 5, voted against the ordinance.

In 2013, councilmembers directed the San Marcos Neighborhood Commission to evaluate and propose a “robust” long-term solution for rental property issues. The commission held 19 meetings 2013-2014 regarding rental properties, said Kenneth Bell, fire marshal.

Councilman Jude Prather, Place 2, said the ordinance was created using a  “balanced” approach.

“I think it would improve our rental communities,” Prather said.

Time is the main concern, Bell said. The program will reduce the amount of time needed to gain compliance or action from rental properties and will speed up court processes.

Councilmembers raised concern about the fairness of the program. Bell said the ordinance would not be applied to apartments that are members of the Achieving Community Together (ACT) ally program. ACT uses a separate set of guidelines.  

“We worked really hard (on the ordinance),” said Elena Duran, San Marcos Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA) member. “We worked with the realtors closely, (and) we came together to form a cohesive document.”

The San Marcos Board of Realtors is not in support of the program because of the regulation, said Kenneth Bell.

Councilman John Thomaides, Place 3, said he visited another city with an ordinance similar to the rental nuisance abatement program.

“I know this is going to make a difference,” Thomaides said. “I know this is going to improve the quality of life. It is going to give neighborhoods where rental units are operated a peace of mind.”