SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- South Charleston City Council passed an ordinance Friday evening prohibiting homeowners from renting rooms to boarders.
The new regulation addresses complaints ranging from parking problems to criminal activity, according to Mayor Frank Mullens.
"This ordinance gives us more power to address problems when they arise," Mullens said. "There is a small percentage of people who are causing problems, but we are responsible to all residents in the community. We need to address those who make their neighbors suffer because they aren't playing by the rules - whether it's high grass or parking issues."
Violation carries fines of $10 to $100 a day for up to 30 days and/or up to 30 days in jail, according to Councilman Jef Stevens.
Stevens, the lone dissenter, argued that while the council has "honorable intentions," he feels the ordinance unnecessarily criminalizes people's right to use their property to provide for themselves and their families.
"Some people rent out rooms out of necessity and need the money for household bills," said Stevens. "I think homeowners are diligent to look into the character of those to whom they rent."
However, Councilman Jeff Means said only those who cause problems in their neighborhoods would be visible to city officials and held accountable.
"If there is a person who is renting and they are not causing a problem, they will not be visible to the city," Means said. "We are not going out to actively enforce this law."
The action was taken to promote good neighborhoods, according to Councilwoman Kathleen Walker.