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Detroit launches citywide rental property compliance effort

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Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

Perhaps in the not-so-distant future, the days of negligent landlords will be behind us. The City of Detroit announced a plan to bring rental properties up to code, zip code by zip code across the city. Aimed at both helping renters and rewarding good landlords in the city, the program will identify every rental property across the city to make sure they’re safe and up to code.

The initial zip codes to kick off the program are on the far east, northwest, and southwest neighborhoods of Detroit. The program starts with the 48215 neighborhood on February 1.

City of Detroit

The city intends to add a new zip code each month, with plans to complete the full program in 2020.

Properties in each selected zip code will have 90 days to register; building owners will have six months to get their property up to code, get an inspection, and receive a certificate of compliance from the city.

Renters will be able to keep their rent in escrow if their landlord does not receive the certificate of compliance in the six-month time frame. The landlords also need to be up-to-date in their property taxes; if they’re a year behind, the city can refuse to issue the certificate.

The city will also be launching a website where renters can look up a property to verify if it has the certificate of compliance. A tenant brochure with more info can be accessed here.

The program is intended to reward good landlords in the city. This includes less frequent assessments for landlords who are up-to-date on taxes and have received no blight violations.

“We’ve got to increase the quality of life for the neighbors and the tenants in the city of Detroit,” said Dave Bell, director of the Buildings, Safety Engineering & Environmental Department. “We can’t do that without getting rid of unnecessary requirements and providing an adequate amount of time for the landlord’s to come into compliance. This ordinance creates a win for everyone and moves the neighborhoods forward.”

Landlords who want to speed up the process can register their properties here.