The City of Detroit, by amending Chapter 9 of the Detroit City Code, is easing regulations on landlords who comply with ordinance requirements while cracking down on landlords owning noncompliant rental properties.
All rental properties have always had to maintain a valid certificate of compliance, but that requirement was rarely enforced. In order to build stronger neighborhoods, the revised code will allow the city to suspend or deny a property’s certificate of compliance when (a) the property receives a blight violation or (b) property taxes are delinquent for one year or more.
If a property owner violates either of these provisions or any other provision of Article I, the owner must renew the certificate annually for a three-year period. However, if a property owner has owned the property, stayed current on property taxes, and remained violation-free since January 1 of the preceding year, the owner needs to renew the certificate only once every three years for one- and two-family dwellings and every two years for multi-family dwellings.
Landlords receiving a suspension or denial of a certificate of compliance should not delay. Requests for hearings must be submitted in writing within seven days of the suspension or denial. The city will schedule a hearing pursuant to a timely request no later than 30 days after receipt. If a request is not made within seven days, the suspension or denial is deemed final.
Perhaps most importantly, the ordinance prohibits landlords from collecting rent without a valid certificate of compliance and tenants of such properties must pay rent into an escrow account. If the landlord does not obtain a certificate within 90 days, the tenant receives the escrowed rent. This process continues every 60 days until the landlord obtains a certificate of compliance.