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Detroit Push Fails to Boost Rental Inspections

Article by Christine MacDonald, The Detroit News Published 12:01 a.m. ET Jan. 14, 2019 | Updated 9:52 a.m. ET Jan. 14, 2019


Detroit — The bulk of city landlords have ignored a campaign launched by Mayor Mike Duggan nearly a year ago requiring all rentals pass city inspections.
As of earlier this month, only 10 percent — or 537 of 5,281 known rental properties — had a city clearance to legally operate in six ZIP codes the effort first began targeting back in February, according to data reviewed by The Detroit News.
Officials originally pledged to have rental units citywide pass inspections needed for certificates of compliance by the end of 2019, but the slow pace means that two-year goal will be pushed back, while inspectors target violators with tickets and possible misdemeanor criminal charges, said David Bell, director of the buildings, safety engineering & environmental department.
“It's not where we want it to be," Bell said. "Some landlords are getting the message and are moving forward. Others have decided to take a wait-and-see approach.
"It appears it takes time to change this culture that has been in effect for quite a while."
The enforcement started after an investigation by The News documented families facing a cycle of eviction in unsafe, illegal rentals, including homes without heat in the winter, hazardous electric systems, missing windows, rodent infestations and a sewage-filled basement. City officials admitted they had let most landlords ignore inspection rules for more than a decade.