DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — At its meeting on Monday, the Decatur City Council unanimously approved a six-month moratorium on new “build-to-rent” projects.

Per, the moratorium, the city of Decatur will reexamine zoning, business license code sections and other regulations on those types of projects.

Build-to-rent (BTR) communities are typically new-construction neighborhoods of single-family homes. However, rather than sell the homes to traditional buyers, the homes are owned by property management companies and rented out.

Decatur City Council President, Jacob Ladner said BTR communities are on the rise. “I think when you look nationwide, all across the country, this build-to-rent model, it kind of gives an entry into the [housing] market.”

Ladner said these types of communities can be good for people who aren’t quite ready to own their own homes.

“Entry-level houses are important,” he said. “That type of affordability for your teachers, police officers, and young professionals.”

Despite the potential benefits of these communities, Ladner said he agrees that the city needs to ensure that policies and zoning measures are in place, before a large number of them are built in Decatur.

Ladner’s thoughts are echoed by many residents of the Foxwood and Burning Tree neighborhoods in Decatur. Residents of those neighborhoods packed Monday’s City Council meeting to express their disappointment about a build-to-rent community being built at the edge of their neighborhood.

A lot being developed for a “build-to-rent” community, with a Foxwood home in the background.

A Birmingham-based company is currently in the process of building 35 single-family homes with the intention of them being rentals.

One woman who lives in the neighborhood spoke with News 19 while we were out getting video of the new development. She said she is worried about her property values declining, once the rental homes are built.

She wasn’t alone in that sentiment. Decatur-area realtor and Foxwood resident, Mary Ann Scott, said the neighborhood is well established, having been around for around 25 years.

“All the people who live there have invested a lot of their money and resources in those homes,” Scott said.

The entry sign to the Foxwood neighborhood.

She agrees that different types of housing are needed in Decatur, as there is a shortage of available homes, however she’s frustrated with the zoning that would allow for rental homes in the same neighborhood as single-family homes.

Kim Hallmark, Owner of Re/Max Platinum and Choice Properties Rental Management, said another concern is how the rental homes will be kept up over time, without a homeowner’s association and local management.

“It is potentially going to be managed by a management company that may not be local,” Hallmark said.

Unfortunately for the residents of Foxwood and Burning Tree, the moratorium will not impact the build-to-rent project going on nearby, since work has already started. However, it could impact future projects.

Council President Ladner said the council will look at zoning changes during the duration of the moratorium.

“I think some folks think maybe they should only be in certain areas where you might have a multi-family apartment project, or maybe they do belong in single-family zoning, so those are all the things we’re trying to work out over the next six months,” he said.

“For the developments or the properties already owned by the developer, they can finish those projects out with a build-to-rent subdivision, those are within the zoning guidelines that are already in place,” Ladner said. “It’s just anything, any new property that is purchased for that purpose won’t be able to move forward in the six months.”