Risky Rentals? Neighbors say a rooming house run by a company brings crime, violates city code

Their neighborhood is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been home to leading Black doctors, lawyers, and civil rights leaders since the 1950′s.

But neighbors said a rooming house run by a company called PadSplit is bringing crime.

Channel 2 consumer investigator Justin Gray found that the PadSplit home has been cited for violating city zoning laws.

Channel 2 Action News got a picture of the first notice put on the door of the Collier Heights house from 2022 for operating an illegal rooming house and other charges.

It seems like an obvious code violation – that you can’t cram 10 tenants into one house in a neighborhood zoned as single-family.

But that home is still operating as a PadSplit and no case has been heard in court nearly 2 years later.

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“They split it up to like 10, 10 different bedrooms,” said Heather Allen, a Collier Heights resident.

They used to call them boarding houses or rooming houses.

PadSplit offers rooms for rent by the week.

“There’s a bathroom in the middle of the living room,” said Ricardo Mosby, a Collier Heights resident.

PadSplit has an easily searchable website and a CEO who speaks the language of a tech startup on social media.

But for neighbors in Atlanta’s historic Collier Heights, none of that changes what the home brings to their neighborhood zoned for single family houses.

“There was a murder,” Holmes said.

“First you see the cops with the guns, and then the next few weeks later, it’s cordoned off with yellow tape,” Mosby said.

Collier Heights is not just zoned single family, it’s also a designated city historic district.

Any changes to the homes have to meet specific criteria in the neighborhood built by African Americans, for African Americans during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

“To have someone to come and basically put up a rooming house in the midst, this is outrageous,” said Atlanta City Council Member Michael Julian Bond.

He said running a rooming house, a PadSplit out of the house, is illegal.

“If you’re going to take the interior and carve it up, that’s an absolute violation of the city’s zoning code,” Bond said.

“How are they getting away with it?” Gray asked.

“I think they’re just doing it and waiting to get caught,” Bond said.

But they have been caught.


Channel 2 Action News uncovered violations for the address after an open records request and visit to Atlanta Municipal Court.

In September 2022, a notice was left on the door that lists violations for illegal rooming houses, illegal short-term rentals, and the historic district ordinance.

“It’s simply not allowed,” Bond said.

In 2023, citations were written for the home’s owner Ivan De Figueredo Jr., PadSplit LLC, and PadSplit’s CEO Atticus LeBlanc for operating a rooming house for a property zoned single family.

Channel 2 Action News checked court records that show only the De Figueredo citation was filed in court. He has a hearing scheduled for later this month.

PadSplit CEO Atticus LeBlanc refused our request for an interview but in a statement, PadSplit claims it has no responsibility for wronging at the address.

“We do not own, did not renovate, nor do we serve as the property managers of the house in question, although it is one of thousands of housing choices provided through our marketplace,” the statement said.

But it’s PadSplit residents living in the home, who pay PadSplit rent, applied for a lease through PadSplit, and are supposed to follow PadSplit rules.

The city tells us in a statement:

“On multiple occasions, the Department of City Planning, Office of Buildings, (OOB) has attempted to serve citations to Atticus LeBlanc and others associated with pad splits whereby illegal use of land violations are occurring… Additionally, OOB has enlisted the aid of the Atlanta Police Department (APD) to serve the citations.”

PadSplit CEO Atticus LeBlanc has another active case in the City of Atlanta also for operating an illegal rooming or boarding house.

“PadSplit wants to be a good neighbor,” said a PadSplit official in March 2020 to boos from angry DeKalb County residents who flooded the courthouse about multiple code violations on a PadSplit home there.

That criminal case is still active.

In South Fulton County in 2022, the city council changed city code after investors allegedly told code enforcement, they were renovating a home into a 4 bedroom, but inside the PadSplit inspectors found 10 bedrooms.

On his LinkedIn, PadSplit’s CEO calls his critics NIMBYs, which means not in my backyard.

That does not sit well with residents of this historic Black neighborhood.

“The question is, does he have any PadSplits in his neighborhood? That’s the question,” Mosby said.

A quick search of PadSplits shows the vast majority are clustered in South Fulton and South DeKalb counties.

In a statement to Channel 2 Action News, PadSplit said:

“PadSplit understands that most occupancy-related zoning regulations are based on archaic and discriminatory practices dating back more than 100 years.”

But Bond said a PadSplit and the homeowners who it contracts with do not get to decide which city laws they want to follow.

“You’re trampling on the history of the community, and you are denigrating the people that you’re trying to be a neighbor to. It is outrageous. And it needs to stop,” Bond said.

PadSplit’s argument is that the legal responsibility for the zoning violations is with the homeowners it contracts with not PadSplit.

Neighbors just want the zoning violations enforced on the property.

With all the confusion, this has been going on for nearly 2 years and nobody has been to court.

There is a court date scheduled in 2 weeks for the owner of the house.

Channel 2 Action News will be there.

We reached out to the owner, but he has not responded.

PadSplit’s CEO said he has never been issued a citation about the home.

The city told Channel 2 Action News that it is attempting again to serve Atticus LeBlanc on Friday and will continue to try to find and serve him over the weekend.