Apartment Inspection Reform Bill Passes Legislature
In a major victory for the rental property industry, the Michigan House of Representatives voted 102-6 in favor of Senate Bill 107. This bill is AAM’s effort to reform the Housing Law of Michigan to provide that the lessee’s permission is needed prior to local government entry to inspect. Current state law allows a local government to compel an apartment owner, regardless of the resident’s wishes, to provide unit access if the lease allows the owner right of entry at any time. AAM has stated its concern that this is a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and lawsuits in other parts of the country support this position. The Michigan Senate already approved the bill, on a 37-0 vote, on the final day of Senate session prior to its summer recess. As of this writing, Governor Snyder had not acted on the bill, but we will advise you when that occurs.
Detroit City Council Enacts Changes to Rental Property Ordinance
On October 31, the Detroit City Council passed a set of amendments to the city’s rental property ordinance. These changes begin a two year effort by the Buildings, Safety, Engineering and Environmental Department (BSEED) to get all rental properties registered and inspected. BSEED will divide the city up in five zones, and phase in compliance via inspections in each zone. Ordinance amendments include:
- The ability for the city to withhold certificates of compliance to landlords who are more than six months delinquent on their property taxes and owe more than $1000.
- Provide landlords with an expedited process (between 7 and 30 days) for appealing the denial or suspension of a certificate of compliance.
- Less frequent inspections for landlords who, for at least one year, have remained current on their taxes and received no blight violations. Certifications would extend from one year to two years for multi-family properties and to three years for one- and two-family properties.
- Continue annual lead hazard inspections (except for those properties where long-term or permanent abatement measures were made) even if there are less frequent property inspections.
- Allow the city to accept inspections of multifamily property conducted by HUD under the real estate assessment center inspection process, or by other government agencies.
Landlords who fail to have their property inspected during their compliance period will not be able to legally collect rent nor evict any tenant for withholding rent.