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    The City of Grand Rapids Property Maintenance Code requires all residential vacant and rental properties be registered. Additionally the The City of Grand Rapids will be adding comprehensive inspections of all single family and remaining two-family rental properties to the current Certification program through 2016. Property owners will be notified in advance of the inspection to allow adequate time to prepare.

    Rental Property Registration FAQ's

    What constitues a rental property in the City of Grand Rapids?

    The City's Property Maintenance Code defines a rental dwelling as:

    " A rental dwelling shall be defined as any dwelling which contains a dwelling unit, rooming unit or hotel unit that is not occupied as a residence by the owner; and shall include any single family residential structure that is not occupied as a residence by the owner."

    Therefore, owner occupied, multi-unit dwellings are considered rental properties even if occupied by family or friends, regardless of whether rent is collected.

    How does the City's Property Maintenance Code define "Owner"?

    The City's Property Maintenance Code defines "Owner" as:

    "Any person, agent, operator, firm or corporation having a legal or equitable interest in the property; or recorded in the official records of the state, county or municipality as holding title to the property; or otherwise having control of the property, including the guardian of the estate of any such person, and the executor or administrator of the estate of such person if ordered to take possession of real property by a court."

    Why does the City of Grand Rapids require rental property registrations?

    Rental registrations provide the City with contact information when emergency or hazardous conditions arise at the property. An immediate contact with the owner or manager can help resolve the situation. Registrations also provide a way for the inspector to contact the owner/manager when a code enforcement complaint is received by the City. Finally, registrations benefit owners and managers through email notifications and online services to assist in property management.

    Who needs to register rental properties?

    Rental Properties should be registered by the owner or the manager of that property.

    What does it cost to register?

    There is no fee for registering your property. But, failure to do so may result in significant enforcement fees.

    How often do I need to register?

    Rental properties must be registered annually or whenever the owner/manager contact information changes. Click here for instructions on how to register rental or vacant properties online.

    What happens if I don't register my rental property?

    Failure to register rental properties may result in significant enforcement fees.

    Vacant Property Registration FAQ's

    How does the Grand Rapids Property Maintenance Code define a vacant property?

    The Grand Rapids Property Maintenance Code defines abandoned or vacant residential structures as those not occupied for more than 30 days and meeting any of the following criteria:

    • Is a location for loitering, vagrancy, unauthorized entry or other criminal activity;
    • Has one or more broken or boarded windows or unsecured point of entry;
    • Has taxes in arrears for a period of time exceeding 365 days;
    • Has utilities disconnected or not in use;
    • Is not maintained in compliance with the City's Property Maintenance Code; or
    • Is subject to foreclosure.

    Why does the City of Grand Rapids require vacant property registrations?

    Vacant registrations provide the City with contact information when emergency or hazardous conditions arise at the property. An immediate contact with the owner or manager can help resolve the situation. Registrations also provide a way for the inspector to contact the owner/manager when a code enforcement complaint is received by the City. Finally, registrations benefit owners and managers through email notifications and online services to assist in property management.

    Who needs to register vacant properties?

    Vacant properties should be registered by the owner or manager of that property.

    What does it cost to register?

    There is no fee for registering your vacant property. But, failure to do so may result in significant enforcement fees.

    When do I need to register a vacant property?

    Vacant or abandoned properties must be registered within 15 days after the structure has become vacant. Or in the case of foreclosure, within 15 days of the expiration date of the redemption period.

    What happens if I don't register my vacant property?

    Failure to register vacant properties may result in significant enforcement fees.

    Rental Property Inspections and Certification FAQ's

    What is a rental certification (Certificate of Compliance)?

    A rental certification is issued after the City has completed a comprehensive interior and exterior inspection of the property and the property is found to be in substantial compliance with the City's Property Maintenance Code. No rental unit, hotel unit or rooming unit shall be occupied prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Compliance.

    Why does the City require rental certifications?

    A Certificate of Compliance verifies compliance with minimum standards set forth in the City's Property Maintenance Code. The purpose of the City's Property Maintenance Code is to protect the public health, safety and general welfare of the people of the City. This includes: (1) protecting the character and stability of the residential areas within the city; (2) preventing the spread of slums and blight; and (3) preserving the taxable value of lands and buildings throughout the city.

    What properties need to be certified?

    All occupied residential rental properties must be certified.

    How often do I need to certify my property?

    The City of Grand Rapids issues two, four, and six year Certificates of Compliance, depending on the history and conditions of the property.

    How do I request a certification inspection?

    An owner may request a rental certification inspection by contacting the Code Compliance Office at (616) 456-3053. The City is also implementing a new pro-active rental certification program for single and two-family rental properties which are not currently certified. This program commenced in July 2012 and will require four years to cycle through all of the uncertified rental properties. Rental property owners will be notified when one of their properties is identified for a certification inspection. In the meantime, if a housing complaint is received, a certification inspection will be performed sooner. Implementation Schedule

    My rental property is already registered. Why does it have to be certified?

    The rental registration is not the same as a rental certification. Rental registrations provide the City with owner and manager information related to rental and vacant properties. Rental certifications are a comprehensive interior and exterior inspection to verify compliance with the City's Property Maintenance Code.