By Sean Keenan
As Atlanta-based start-up PadSplit grows, its founder and CEO Atticus LeBlanc has been hoping government regulations could be enacted that would help add an extra element of legitimacy to the operation.
Today, local zoning regulations can make things tricky for the company which thrives on splitting up single-family homes and manages them as rental properties.
Enter state Rep. Teri Anulewicz, a Democrat representing Smyrna, with a plan to change that.
With the help of PadSplit leaders, Anulewicz has crafted and plans to soon file a bill that would “define the term ‘family’ in relation to local governments exercising zoning powers or administering and enforcing building, housing or property maintenance codes,” according to an early draft of the legislation sent to SaportaReport.
Today, so-called rooming houses aren’t allowed in single-family neighborhoods in Atlanta, and PadSplits are designed in a way that allows tenants to meet the city’s complex definition of a “single family” – “up to six unrelated people, plus another four, as long as the latter occupy no more than two rooms,” according to a report by Bloomberg.
The to-be-pitched legislation – Anulewicz said she’ll likely file it after next Tuesday – would amend the state’s understanding of the word “family” to mean:
- A single person, who may be an elderly person, disabled person, near-elderly person, or any other single person; or
- A group of persons residing together and such group includes, but is not limited to:
- A household with or without children, including a child who is temporarily away from the household because of placement in foster care;
- An elderly household;
- A near-elderly household;
- A disabled household; and
- The remaining members of a household
If passed by the Legislature and ratified, the state’s new definition of “family” would supersede that of local governments and open the door for PadSplit to further expand.
LeBlanc has told SaportaReport in the past that if just 1 percent of metro Atlanta’s residential housing stock was converted to the PadSplit model, roughly 90,000 new affordable housing units could be created.
Nevertheless, Anulewicz told SaportaReport in an interview this week, “Housing affordability is by no means that is limited to metro Atlanta… This is an issue that is definitely pervasive throughout the state of Georgia.”
“When we talk about affordable housing, one of the examples that is always used is finding housing for teachers, for first responders, firefighters, police or municipal employees,” Anulewicz said. “Something like PadSplit is going to make that easier … and having this language clarified will foster more collaboration [among governments].”