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landlord helpUnion Township, Michigan joined the growing ranks of college towns ratcheting up the requirements on landlords to undergo rental property inspections.

City officials announced last week that new, stricter rules will apply after the first of the year.

The area has a significant number of student rentals, but officials insists that student housing isn’t the only concern.  Public safety issues  – like mold and lead, appliances that use gas or electricity, and plumbing systems are said to be the main focus of the new inspection process.

An official who will oversee the inspections indicated that the township will develop general guidelines, and tweak the process over the next several years.

It has been a growing concern of landlords that the motivation behind these rental inspection programs is the fees which are generated, especially when inspections are required as frequently as when a tenant moves out, or complains.  The fears are compounded when only rental properties are subject to inspection, while neighboring properties of the same age and condition are exempt.  Landlords are easy targets for municipalities looking to offset budget deficiencies.

In this case, officials indicate that virtually all housing, including condos and hotels, may be subject to inspections.

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  • Mark

    I agree with this article. As a single family property owner Contra Costa County in California has an inspection program which cost $200 per inspection. It is considered a fee, not a tax. The inspections are mandatory. I had to be present when the inspection occurred. I had to drive 90 miles and waited for 4 hours till the inspector arrived. My neighbor had dead cars parked in his front yard for years. When I pointed out the dead cars laying on the lawn his response was ” not my problem call code enforcement, I am here to inspect this house. I even had to pay for lead and asbestos testing even though I knew the house had lead base paint and asbestos in the joint compound. as a result of the inspection I had to pay $300 dollars in permit fees for work performed on the house that required ” an official inspection by a county building inspector” Only rental units are selected for this extreme invasion by government agencies. It is unfair. It is unclear how the revenues are used or for what purpose they are used. I wrote a letter to the county supervisor complaining about the inspections but received no response. If the county government is to conduct such inspection it should be conducted on all buildings, not just rentals. It is outrageous.

  • Mona

    I don’t consider the practice unfair… but the costs do seem a bit outrageous.

    A person living in their own home does not present a liability to others who do not live in that home. Landlords offering their properties for rent, do. Its the same reason that a health inspector will inspect my restaurant, but not my personal kitchen at home… unless I am preparing food for public consumption there.

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