Detroit reaches out to landlords to boost inspections

Christine MacDonald
The Detroit News

Detroit officials are reaching out to landlords, hoping more register their properties with the city so that they can be inspected.

Landlords are required to register with the city’s Building, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department and get annual certificates of compliance showing they are safe and inhabitable.

The majority of rentals, though, aren’t registered. The city has about 2,500 rental addresses registered, while U.S. Census data estimate there are more than 136,000 rental housing units in the city.

Failure to register or get a certificate of compliance are both punishable by $250 fines.

“We don’t want an adversarial relationship with the people who don’t want to be adversaries,” said David Bell, Detroit’s director of the Building, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department.

On Friday from 8 a.m. to noon, city officials will meet with landlords to educated them about the process and other city requirements, including grants for lead abatement and collaboration with police to prevent squatting and crime.

If landlords come forward and register at the event, they won’t face fines, officials said.

The meeting is on the 13th floor of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, in the Erma Lois Henderson Auditorium.

Bell said the city has launched pilot programs in East English Village and the Bagley neighborhoods to boost registration and inspections. Grandmont Rosedale is next, he said.

To help identify landlords, Bell said they are using records from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. The department also hopes to launch an online search for tenants by January to allow officials to look up whether their landlord is registered or has passed inspections.