More students have come to Carolina Student Legal Services for advice after increased enforcement of Chapel Hill’s controversial occupancy law have left them fearing eviction.
Chapel Hill’s occupancy rule, which allows only four unrelated people to live under one roof, has drawn criticism from the student body several students were asked to leave their homes last year after violating the law.
Dorothy Bernholz, director of Carolina Student Legal Services, said the town’s crackdown on the longstanding rule has a potential ripple of negative effects throughout the entire community.
“We have been involved in this issue for a number of years,” she said. “The ordinance has been in place for a long time but recently the enforcement has increased.”
Bernholz plans to advertise more frequently the need for students to fully understand their lease before signing so no one gets evicted.
It is the inappropriate behavior of some tenants that created a need for added enforcement from the town, Bernholz said.
“The neighborhood associations do not like this behavior,” she said. “It is these particular households that create an increased enforcement of the rule even though other student living homes create no problem.”
In a statement last week, the University’s Executive Branch said it is looking to discuss changing the rule with the Chapel Hill Town Council.
Michael Adams, managing assistant for Student Body President Christy Lambden, said recent enforcement has generated student interest toward changing the rule.