City council approves new definition of ‘single housekeeping unit’

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TCU students and residents living in Fort Worth won’t have to worry about stricter rules on renting after the Fort Worth City council approved a new definition of what constitutes a ‘single housekeeping unit’ earlier this week.

The new definition states that a single housekeeping unit consists of: “Individuals occupying a dwelling unit that have established ties and familiarity with each other; share a lease agreement, have consent of the owner to reside on the property, or own the property; jointly use common areas and interact with each other; and share the household expenses such as rent or ownership costs, utilities, and other household and maintenance costs activities. If the unit is rented, all residents over the age of 18 have chosen to jointly occupy the entire premises of the dwelling unit, under a single written lease with joint use and responsibility for the premises.”

City Councilwoman Ann Zadeh said that it was important to clarify the term because there was no set definition already established.

“When you have undefined terms in an ordinance, it can be confusing,” Zadeh said.

The zoning commission drafted the new definition last month after a previous amendment would have put severe limitations on who is able to rent houses throughout the city.

The clauses in the previous definition that were not approved included a restriction on locks or deadbolts on any interior doors of the house, significant changes in number of residents over a 12-month period and members using a different address for legal registration. Also, sharing the house couldn’t be for temporary, seasonal, convenient or economic reasons.

Zadeh also said she hopes the clarification will help build positive relationships between TCU students who rent houses and residents living in the neighborhood.

“The people who live in that area choose to because of the energy it brings.”