Saline Moves Forward on Rental Inspection Ordinance

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Saline City Council discussed a rental inspection ordinance designed to make landlords make their properties safer and improve the lives of city tenants. (Read the ordinance here starting on page 108)

The ordinance received its first reading at Monday's meeting and could be approved as early as next Monday.

The ordinance does two main things: All residential rental units will require a certificate of compliance. Based on the findings of the contracted inspectors, the certificates must be renewed every two years (Or three years if there were no red flags found in the previous inspection). This would apply to single-family and multi-family rentals.

Failure to comply with this ordinance would lead to fines of $100 (first offense), $300 (second offense within two years) or $500 (subsequent offenses within two years).

There are fees that could be passed on from landlord to tenant. For a single-family registration, there is a one-time $100 charge. For a duplex, there is a $125 fee. For multi-family homes, the fee is $150.

Inspecting a single-family unit or duplex will cost $150. Inspecting a multi-family unit will cost $125 for each building exterior and grounds, $70 for each mechanical, laundry and common area, $70 for each pool, fitness center or maintenance building, and $75 for each dwelling unit.

The city crafted the ordinance in response to complaints from tenants in recent years. Most notably, a roof caved in at Thorncrest apartments a couple of years ago. Last year, tenants at Six Trails apartments complained they lived for weeks without heat in the winter.

Mayor Brian Marl said he would enthusiastically support the ordinance.

"I am strongly in support of it. I think the substance and the tone and tenor of this policy strike the right balance. It's not heavy-handed while at the same time it ensures accountability and reemphasizes the fact that every tenant in the City of Saline deserves to live in a safe and healthy rental unit," Marl said.

Marl said most of the city's landlords are good, conscientious people who want to do the right thing.

"I think they'll understand the importance in the rationale behind adopting this new policy," he said.

The ordinance was drafted with the help of Michael Radzik of Carlisle Wortman & Associates.

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