Cob County, a county here in Georgia just passed a law to avoid overcrowding a house. The main reason for passing the law was that illegal immigrants are living 10 adults plus children to a house, and crowding out their neighbors. This of course lowers property values.
It took a lot of work to come to a decision as to what mix of people, and how many should be in one house. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that having at least 390 square feet of total building space per adult with no more than one car per allowed adult. For a house the size of mine, one could cram 12 adults (not including their children) into the house thereby terrorizing the neighbors. Previously the law required 50 feet of sleeping space per adult. That is a lot of people! For an average 1800 square foot house, however, there would be some serious limitations.
When the law was passed today, the final decision allowed immediate family (mother, father, children and two “other” adults. This allows for grandparents, roommates, and the like. I know why these laws were passed, but I am torn about the success of such a law. It is certainly good for neighborhoods and property value, but it is very unfair for large extended families. After all, there are still families where a wife and husband take in a set of parents, grown children, and even grand children all at the same time. In these cases, they would have to apply for an exception to have a relative live in their home. If anyone remembers the old TV show Full House, Mary Kate and Ashley would have been out of luck.
I am not completely unsympathetic about the plight of the homeowners. When I moved into my gated neighborhood some years back, I noticed that some of the houses were seriously overcrowded. There would be four to five cars in a driveway and the houses were obviously buzzing with activity. With only five bedrooms per house and the fact that children in the houses as well, I can admit that I was worried about property value and traffic in the small community. My fears were not unfounded either. One of these houses has been for sale for over a year now. In the six short years that it was over inhabited, I cannot imagine them getting their asking price, and so my property value is affected also.
What bothers me the most about this law is that people are not admitting what the law is really about. They are saying they want to stop house overcrowding, but what I am actually hearing is that they want immigrants out of their neighborhood. If the people and legislation were really honest about the purpose of this newly passed law, it would simply read, No more than two adults and two cars per immigrant family allowed