Senate Passes Rental Inspection Bill with Major Changes

Posted on June 4, 2014 by Dene Westbrook

Today the full Senate passed SB 313, legislation making changes to the Housing Law dealing with rental inspections. If you recall, the version that passed out of the senate committee last fall had detrimental impacts on rental inspections in Michigan and the health and safety of residents living in them. That version, which affects communities over 10,000, capped both registration fees (and only allowed to require re-registration if the property is sold or transferred or if new units are constructed) and inspection fees for rental inspections, did not allow a community to charge for a re-inspection and changed the timeline for inspections to not less than 6 years but no longer than 10 years. The bill would also require an inspector to inform the lessee of their right to refuse an inspection and request and obtain permission from the lessee to inspect.

A lot of work has been done on that version of the bill to get to the version that passed the Senate today: 313_Senatepassedversion. As it passed today, both the registration fee and inspection fee caps have been removed and the ability to charge for re-inspections has been restored. The timeline for inspection has been returned to what is in current law (no longer than 4 years but may go longer if community chooses for good actors). What remains in the Senate passed version is as follows:
1. only allowing for re-registration when additional dwelling units are constructed and when the property is sold or transferred,
2. clarifying the leesee has the right to refuse an inspection. Language was added in that would allow the municipality to require the landlord to seek the permission of the lessee for the inspection and notify the inspector of the response. This does not apply to emergency situations or where there is a warrant (in those cases, no permission is needed for the inspection).
3. Payment of the inspection is due after the inspection is completed except in cases of new construction or where the property has been transferred to a new owner.

While we still have concerns with this version of the legislation, we want to thank the bill sponsor and his staff for working with us to address many of our concerns from the original version of the legislation. We will continue working on this as it makes its way to the House and look forward to our continued work with the bill sponsor and his staff.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development and land use issues. She can be reached at [email protected] or 517-908-0305.

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