CHARLOTTE, Mich. — Almost 45 percent of Charlotte’s housing stock are rentals, and now a new program is requiring landlords to register their rental property with the city. Then every other year the city will come and inspect it.
“Looking for basic safety things. Is the housing safe? Is the electrical safe? Is there proper fire extinguishers,” said Mayor Michael Armitage.
Before the new rental registration and inspection program, Charlotte did not have any program like this.
As to why the council felt it was important to pass the ordinance,“the fact that we have so many rental units in the community," Armitage said. "Because we’ve heard and we know that some of these rental units are unsafe. They’re blighted. And I want to be clear there are many landlords in our community that take very good care of their property.”
If a safety concern or general property maintenance issue comes up after the inspection city manager Erin LaPere said they will first work with the property owner.
“Give them a period of time to correct the issue. And then from there, it’s up to the property owner to bring their properties into compliance,” LaPere said.
If they don’t LaPere said the worst-case scenario, is that they would write a citation for an ordinance violation.
“And they would then have to you know appear in court and explain to a judge why they didn’t bring their property into compliance with our ordinances," said LaPere. "But our goal is to work with property owners.”
Mayor Michael Armitage said several other communities have similar programs like Eaton Rapids and Lansing.
“Our goal really with this is to ensure that if people are renting a home that they have a safe place to live," Armitage said. "So, we’re trying to accomplish two things: make sure that the housing units within our community are safe for tenants and also, that these rental units are maintained and that they’re an asset to the neighborhoods and aren’t blighted and unsafe.”
The program will be phased in, and the goal is to start it in November.
This is required for all landlords and there will be a registration fee, but the price has not been set yet. The council will discuss the fee structure during Tuesday's meeting.
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