Metro Council passes ordinances requiring the licensing of boarding and lodging houses in Metro Louisville

April 16, 2015

Louisville – After a year of listening to concerns of neighbors over the growing problem of unlicensed boarding and lodging houses, the Metro Council has approved two new ordinances to get such businesses better regulated.

By a unanimous vote, the Council on Thursday night passed revisions to Chapter 115 of the Metro Code of Ordinances to require annual licensing and more information from operators on who lives in and what, if any, services are provided.

          “I want to thank my colleagues for making these needed changes not only for the safety of the people who use these facilities but for the safety and quality of life in our neighborhoods,” said Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton (D-5), the primary sponsor. “We can make sure these operations are run properly and are not a nuisance in our neighborhoods.”

The changes require Boarding and Lodging Houses which have a maximum of 8 boarders to be licensed annually. The definition of shelter has been expanded to include B&L Houses in addition to homeless shelters and transitional housing. The new definition excludes short term rental facilities, such as motels, hotels and extended stay lodging facilities along with nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Operators of these facilities must provide information on the profile of the population served, any services provided when they apply for an application, as well as specifics on the buildings floor plan and uses. There is a ten-day notification required in the event a new owner takes over the operation.

Code enforcement officers will now have the authority to enter these facilities to determine if property maintenance and code regulations are being followed. Violators will face fines for each day the facility is out of compliance.

“These changes deal with a problem we have faced in knowing who is running these places and who they are renting to and like any business they need to be properly licensed and follow the law,” says Hamilton.

The Council has also passed a second ordinance which will require the Planning Commission to hold a public hearing on proposed changes to the Land Development Code. Among the proposed changes; requiring all Boarding and Lodging houses in residentially zoned areas including those in R-7 and R8-A zoned districts to obtain Conditional Use Permits., and for the Board of Zoning Adjustment to take into consideration the location of other shelter, transitional, rehab housing and boarding and lodging facilities and the compatibility with the character of the surrounding neighborhood and any adverse impacts to the neighborhood before granting the permit.

Once this ordinance is signed by the Mayor it will go into effect immediately. Existing boarding and lodging houses shall have 90 days from the effective date of the ordinance to comply.

There will be strict penalties for operating these facilities without a license.