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    General Questions

    Where are you located?

    Code Compliance Offices are located at 1120 Monroe Ave. NW. We are available Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 4:00pm.

    What does the Code Compliance Division do?

    The Code Compliance Division of the Community Development Department is responsible for enforcing codes that govern the maintenance and upkeep of residential property, as well as various health and safety codes. The goal is to preserve the City's housing stock and to provide stabilization of our neighborhoods by consistent application of ordinances. Thus, it will ensure owners take responsibility for maintenance of dwellings and lots; and ultimately will provide safe housing for residents.

    Which City Ordinances does the Code Compliance Division enforce?

    Title VIII, Chapter 140 Property Maintenance Code (Amendment Only) | Printable PDF |

    The International Code Council is responsible for the publication and copy right laws associated with the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC). Therfore, the City is unable to publish the code online. Please see the "Specific Code References" website for information on how to view/purchase a copy of the International Property Maintenance Code.

    Title IX, Chapter 151 Nuisance | Printable PDF |
    Title IX, Chapter 169 Home Safety (Smoke Detectors) | Printable PDF |
    Title IV, Chapter 51, Sec. 4.28 Address Identification | Printable PDF |
    Title VI, Chapter 71 Clean Indoor Air (Smoking Ordinance) | Printable PDF |
    Title VI, Chapter 61 Zoning Ordinance | Printable PDF |
    Title VIII, Chapter 135 Building Maintenance Code | Printable PDF |

    How do I report a Code Violation?

    Code violations can be reported online 24 hours a day/7 days a week. To do so:


    For a detailed guide on how to submit and track property complaints, please refer to the Online Property Complaint Guidebook.

    Code violations may also be reported by contacting the Code Compliance Division Monday through Friday (excluding City observed holidays) between 8:00am-11:00am & 1:00pm-3:30pm at (616)456-3053.

    I reported a complaint- How long will it take to have an inspection?

    First, a letter is sent to the owner detailing the concerns and possible violations. Depending on the type of case, the owner is given up to 21 days for repairs. The inspector will follow up with an on-site inspection if timely repairs are not completed. If the issue is considered a hazard, the assigned inspector will make arrangements to inspect the condition as soon as possible.
    View the Case Enforcement Process
    View Detailed Enforcement Record Types

    How can I tell if there is lead paint in my dwelling?

    The Kent County Health Department has lead-testing kits available, and the Health Department may do follow up testing also. The City of Grand Rapids does not provide any type of lead paint testing; however, if a rental dwelling is found to test positive at a higher level, Code Compliance should be contacted to ensure the lead problem is safely remedied.

    How can I determine if there is harmful black mold present in my home?

    Neither the City of Grand Rapids, nor the Kent County Health Department, have testing facilities for mold. You will need to contact a private contractor to have testing done for molds. If your dwelling does test positive for the dangerous black mold, you should re-contact us for more information on options available to you.

    Housing and Zoning Questions

    What should I know about owning rental property?

    First, all rental properties are required to be registered with the City of Grand Rapids' Code Compliance Division (see Rental and Vacant Property FAQ page for the definition of a rental property). Registration can be completed online by following these simple instructions. Online registration allows property owners and/or managers to register multiple properties through a single process. Printable rental registrations forms are also available online and can be submitted via mail, fax, or e-mail.

    Property owners are responsible for contacting the Code Compliance division to request an inspection prior to the property's Certificate of Compliance expiration date (see also the Rental and Vacant Property FAQ page for more information). Failure to schedule inspections may result in additional enforcement and certificate fees. In preparation for an inspection, property owners should be familiar with Basic Requirements for a Certificate of Compliance, along with other enforced City codes and ordinances.

    If you are considering purchasing a property for rental purposes, you should first contact the Planning Department to verify the properties current use and whether or not is can be legally occupied and operated as rental property. The Code Compliance Division also maintains street files which are available for your research and review during our normal business hours, which are Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm. Our files include the history of enforcement actions, Certificates of Compliance, and any Housing Appeal Board actions/decisions. Lastly, enforcement history can be searched and viewed by property address, parcel number, or case number online.

    What are the requirements for a Certificate of Compliance?

    Some of the basic requirements for a Certificate of Compliance may be found here. However, it is the property owners responsibility to be familiar with the City's nuisance, housing and building maintenance codes.

    Who can give me information about the Grand Rapids Zoning Ordinance?

    Although the Code Compliance Division investigates many zoning related complaints, specific questions about the Zoning Ordinance should be directed to the Planning Department, by phone (616) 456-3159, fax (616) 456-4546, or by email at planning@grcity.us. Zoning complaints may be filed online or by contacting the Code Compliance Division, Monday through Friday, 8:30am-11am & 1pm-3:30pm.

    Who handles abandoned vehicles?

    Complaints regarding abandoned vehicles are handled by both the Code Compliance division as well as Grand Rapids Police Department. When the vehicle is on private property, complaints may be entered online or by contacting the Code Compliance Division at (616) 456-3053. If the vehicle is in a public right of way (street or alleyway), please contact the Grand Rapids Police Department at (616) 456-3400.

    Who has information about smoke detector requirements?

    Specific information such as the type, location of, and inspection information for smoke detectors can be found in the Grand Rapids Fire Department's Smoke Alarm FAQ. Information for False Fire Alarms can be found in Chapter 172 of Title IX of the Grand Rapids City Code.

    How tall and where can my fence be?

    These codes are subject to setback and historic preservation guidelines which can be explained by the Planning Department. For more specific questions, setback requirements, historic preservation guidelines, or questions regarding other districts, please contact the Planning Department by phone at (616) 456-3159 or by email at planning@grcity.us.

    How can I secure a vacant building?

    Chapter 140 and 151 of the City Code requires an owner to keep a vacant building secure. A building is considered to be secured if all exterior openings are weather-tight and secured in a manner to prevent unauthorized entry or damage from the elements. Doorways or window openings where doors or windowpanes are broken, partially broken or missing must be properly covered. The following procedures are acceptable:

    1. An owner need not cover a locked door or window, which is in good repair and cannot be opened from the outside.
    2. A window or door in good repair, which cannot be reached from the ground except by means of a ladder, is acceptable even if not locked or nailed shut if the windowpanes or door is intact and closed.
    3. An owner may replace a windowpane or door instead of covering the opening with a board.
    4. In covering a window or doorway the covering must be:

    • All exterior openings, which are to be secured, shall be completely covered from the outside and secured to prevent easy removal. Open ends, overlapping and holes in the required plywood sheathing are not permitted. No more than two (2) pieces of sheathing shall be used to board an opening; and no piece shall be smaller than 24 inches in width or length. All such pieces shall be flush with one another.

    • All sheathing shall be exterior grade plywood at least three-eighths (3/8) inch in thickness. Two (2) inch long, Phillips headed screws shall be used to secure sheathing on all first story or ground accessible openings. 16d common nails are permitted to secure sheathing on openings above ground floor that are not accessible.

    • Every effort should be made to utilize the door or window frame/casing when fastening screws or in the case of upper windows, nails, to ensure a stronghold and minimize damage to the structure.

    • Boarding shall be painted white, light to medium gray or a color similar to that of the boarded building. Shades of gray to be approved by the City staff. Paint shall be approved for exterior application.

    • In the case of doorknobs, or any part protruding from the openings or casing, plywood sheathing shall be cut around such areas to ensure a flush fit to the casings.

    • If you are being ordered to re-secure a building for the second time in six months, to board ground floor or basement windows not previously boarded, you must now board all ground floor, basement door and all window openings regardless of their condition.
    5. If you are being ordered to re-secure a building for the second time in three months to board upper story openings not previously boarded, you must now board all upper story openings regardless of their condition.

    Other Common Questions

    What are the regulations for composting?

    Residential composting is only permitted on the premises of an occupied residential dwelling and is subject to the following conditions:

    • The compost must be completely contained in a fully enclosed compost receptacle, with a tightly fitted lid.
    • The compost receptacle shall have a capactiy of no greater than 64 cubic feet.
    • The compost receptacle must be located in the rear yard of the residential dwelling and must be kept tightly covered except when opened for deposit or removal of compost materials.
    • The compost receptacle shall be constructed of rigid and durable materials, which shall not include any of the following: burlap, tarp, vehicle tires, wire mesh, chicken wire, flexible fencing material of any kind, or any substantially similar materials.
    • Compost may not contain animal waste, meat, bones, grease, oils, fats, or cooked foods of any kind.
    Composting regulations can be found in Section 9.108 of the City's Property Maintenance Nuisances ordinance. For more information about residential composting, including a list of acceptable compost materials click here.

    How can I get information about specific City-owned real estate?

    For information on City owned real estate, please call the Economic Development Office at (616) 456-3431.

    How can I get flood plain information?

    For flood plain information, please contact the Engineering Department online, or call (616) 456-3060.

    Other General Information

    Other General Information can be found on the Development Center website. Any other questions or requests for clarification should be directed to either Housing Inspection at (616) 456-3053 or Building Inspection at (616) 456-4100, depending on the nature of the question. Email questions to codes@grcity.us.
    Any other questions about the Zoning Ordinance should be directed to the Planning Department, which can be reached by phone at (616) 456-4100, by fax at (616) 456-4546, or by email at