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East Lansing ordinance would stop landlords from renting out units too quickly. There's one catch.

Posted at 6:54 PM, Jun 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-10 22:23:21-04

EAST LANSING, Mich. —

The East Lansing City Council passed an ordinance that prevents landlords from renting or showing a unit for at least 150 days after a leasing period begins, but it will only go into effect if Meridian Township and Lansing adopt similar laws before August.

Meridian Township Municipal Building
The Meridian Twp. Municipal Building located at 5151 Marsh Rd.

“We just need to get it across the table in Meridian in Lansing as well," said East Lansing Mayor Aaron Stephens.

The ordinance was presented to the city council by ASMSU, Michigan State University's student government, after seeing many students trying to get out of their leases after classes went online during the pandemic.

The ordinance was presented to the city council by ASMSU, Michigan State University's student government, after seeing many students trying to get out of their leases after classes went online during the pandemic.

“I don’t think we’ve seen anything like what we saw this past year with hundreds and thousands of students trying to figure out how to get out of leases or how to get into better situations because they had no idea what was coming the next year,” Stephens said.

Stephens said the rental renewal timeline has gotten earlier every year.

“When I say fairly early I’m not talking halfway through your lease or even a third of the way through your lease, I’m talking maybe one or two months in,” he said.

The City Council voted three to two in favor of the ordinance, which would put the 150-day limit in place. Stephens said Meridian Township and Lansing need to pass something similar for this ordinance to work.

“While we like to think in East Lansing we hold all the MSU students near and dear, that’s not necessarily true," Stephens said. "There’s a large student population that lives in Meridian Township. There’s a large student population that lives in the city of Lansing.”

Meridian Township Trustee Dan Opsommer confirmed that the township is drafting a similar ordinance, but said it's too early in the process to release any details.

Lansing Communications Director Valarie Marchand said there has not been discussion of a similar ordinance in Lansing, yet.

Stephens said the ordinance would not affect renters who aren't students.

“It’s not really going to affect those rental properties that are on the northern or southern tier of Lansing and it’s certainly not going to affect those properties that are in Meridian Township that aren’t catered to students,” Stephens said.

If the surrounding cities don't pass similar ordinances, Stephens said they aren't giving up.

If the surrounding cities don't pass similar ordinances, Stephens said they aren't giving up.

“We want to see informed renters, we want to see informed adults making decisions that are going to be beneficial to them, not that are going to be antagonistic," said Stephens. "So, to take this action is significant.”

If Lansing and Meridian Township don't pass similar ordinances by August 10, East Lansing's will be canceled.

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Mikayla Temple

Mikayla Temple

1:39 PM, Jan 05, 2021

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Mikayla Temple