College roommates receive notice to correct ‘overcrowding’ violation in renter’s home

A group of college students were given a notice to vacate their home due to the violation
A group of roommates is facing a roadblock after their landlord told them they have five days to move out of the house due to a housing code.
Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 10:13 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A group of college students is in a housing crisis after finding out they have just a few days to leave the home they’re renting near Lipscomb University.

Eliza McLaughlin, Shelby Bratcher, and their three other college roommates received a notice to correct a violation citing “overcrowding,” or they’ll have to vacate their home.

Metro Codes say they’re not in the guidelines of a code that restricts the number of people inside a house. Instead, the letter limits renters to three unrelated adults in the home, citing Sections 16 & 17 of Metro’s housing codes. They live in a four-bedroom home with five occupants.

“Yesterday, we got a notice in the mail that two of us will have to be out within five days. Because of an overcrowding violation from the metro codes department that only three unrelated individuals could live in the same house,” said Shelby Bratcher.

“Since we go to Lipscomb, we know so many people in the area that live with more than three people in homes...I could name ten of them...even some on this street, but for some reason, it’s just us, and I’m not too sure why that is the case,” said Eliza McLaughlin.

The letter limits renters to three unrelated adults in the home, citing sections 16.24.030 & 17.04.060 of Metro’s Housing Codes. They live in a four-bedroom home with five occupants.

“I feel extremely frustrated because I would have not signed a lease in this home if I thought that I was going to be evicted for overcrowding,” said McLaughlin.

These college seniors say they’ve lived here for a year and a half, and trying to find somewhere affordable in Nashville to move to all of a sudden is stressful.

“As college students, it’s very hard to pay rent in Nashville just because the cost of living is so high, but when you’re able to split that five ways, it’s way more feasible if you have to split it three ways or two ways,” said Bratcher.

Now they’re forced to look for other options but say this particular code needs an update.

“I definitely think it’s very frustrating to us because we view this code as very unjust, very outdated. We feel that it’s not followed very often by the metro codes department as we know multiple college students who live with more than four people. I’m hoping that we can see this change so that way no one in the future has to lose their home the way that we did just overnight,” said Bratcher.

The notice states they must correct the violation or vacate by Sept. 19th.

As of now, this seems to be an isolated situation for this group. They also want more clarification on what the code means.

Councilman Freddi O’Connell shared with WSMV 4 a statement explaining the matter.

Metro Code officials sent WSMV4 the following statement: