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Salinas considering law limiting renters in homes
by: Josh Kristianto
SALINAS, Calif. - A proposed ordinance in Salinas could affect the many farm workers who get housing by renting rooms in neighborhoods, but some residents say the law is much needed to maintain the quality of their community. 
Right now, the City of Salinas says some houses across town are filled with 15 to 20 people at a time.
"I notice a couple of houses that I've seen (have) like 15, 18 people walking here," said Alma Camacho, a Salinas resident who lives in the Monte Bella neighborhood in the east side of town. "They're seasonal workers, it's obvious right away. I have seen them going to the houses where they're staying." 
Camacho says when that many people live in one house, it creates problems. 
"In my neighborhood, I notice a lot of traffic, people speeding up, so that's a little bit scary," she said, adding parking can get hectic as well. 
The City of Salinas says homes filled with numerous people is something that happens all over town. The lack of housing means people try to get creative by turning houses into rental businesses. 
For H-2A migrant workers in Salinas, it is much needed. But some owners overcrowd their homes.
"Where I'm concerned is that some people are being exploited as well," said Salinas City Councilmember Tony Barrera. "Some people are making big money, some people are working hard barely making ends meet, but they're being taken advantage of." 
Barrera says the workers who live in these houses sometimes get overcharged.
So the city council is considering a new ordinance: they want to limit the number of renters in each home to seven. If a homeowner breaks that rule, they will get a fine. 
The proposed law is also about responding to the people living next to these houses. 
"Other homeowners are complaining that there's a lot of people living in a certain house, and they feel unsafe," said Barrera.
"It worries me a little bit. So far there hasn't been anything happening yet, but I think about it, and it is something that concerns me," said Camacho.
Barrera says people who are buying homes to share with another family should not worry about the law applying to them. It only applies to those homes that are turned into businesses. 
"If there are people out in the community that feel this type of stuff is happening in their neighborhoods, they need to call the city and let us know," said Barrera. 
The city council is set to consider this proposed rule in November. It will affect all people who own homes, not just people who rent out to migrant workers. 
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