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Michigan Town Plans Major Fee Increase for Rental Owners

Fee Increase for Rental Owners

JACKSON, Mich. - A new state bill would give localities the option to implement rental registration programs, replacing current law that makes such programs mandatory. However, one Michigan mayor believes this new law will lead to “significant” fee increases for property owners. The bill passed the Senate June 4 by a vote of 33-3, but is not expected to be taken up in the House until September.

Under Senate Bill 313, which only applies to cities and towns with a population of 10,000 or more, rental registration programs may only charge a one-time fee to owners registering their properties. Jackson Mayor Jason Smith made it clear that his city will not eliminate its existing rental registration program, which requires a $30 fee plus $10 per apartment every two years. If the registration fee were changed to a one-time only payment, he estimated it could increase to as much as $400.

Also, the bill would require a change in rental inspection procedures in those towns that implement them. SB 313 will require housing inspectors to obtain permission from residents and owners to inspect the unit, whereas Jackson’s current law requires owner permission alone. Mayor Smith indicated that while City Hall has done no hard studies on the impact of the legislation, he has estimated that the city would likely have to hire a full-time police officer solely dedicated to obtaining warrants for property entry. He also expressed concern that rental owners may “incentivize” their residents not to allow inspectors into their units.

In anticipation of the bill’s consideration in the House, the Jackson City Council voted June 24 to pass a resolution in opposition of the bill. The resolution will be distributed to all state lawmakers, city officials said.

Michigan State Legislature, Michigan Live