To address issues resulting from the density of off-campus student housing and absentee landlords, the town of Amherst recently adopted a permitting system for rental properties. It will go into effect on January 1, 2014.
The new regulation, which was developed through the Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods group, requires that properties be registered and permitted before they can be rented, which includes a $100 fee. Existing rentals will not be grandfathered and will have to registered and permitted. Lodging facilities, halfway houses, and group homes are exempt from the regulation.
As part of the registration and permitting process, every owner of a rental property will have to submit an application to the town offices with: the name and complete contact information of landlords and managers and evidence that their property is compliant with all safety and zoning codes. A parking plan is also required under the new regulation. The permit will also need to be renewed annually. (Click here for the complete regulation.)
According to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, there are 5,000 rental units across 1,575 rental properties in Amherst.
Amherst is the home of three colleges, making rental properties a lucrative business for real estate investors. The University of Massachusetts, Amherst College, and Hampshire College are located in the town.
The University of Massachusetts has recently implemented a training program to students who plan on moving off-campus to address issues with the community regarding student rentals. The university encourages landlords to require the class before renting to students, as well.
An off-campus student housing project is currently being considered in the Cushman area of town that would alleviate the density of student housing within the community. However, there is also a campaign that is working to prevent the development because those against it feel that it would be detriment to their neighborhood.
If you are planning on buying or selling a home in Amherst or the surrounding communities of the Pioneer Valley, make your first call to Michael Seward at 413-531-7129.