Beginning July 1, all rental properties in Grand Rapids will require inspections, a move proponents believe will make rental properties safer and help reduce the growing number of blighted homes, which has exploded since the housing crisis began six years ago. Housing advocates say the city has seen some 3,200 homes converted into rental properties between 2006 and 2009 because of the housing crunch and add there are some 4,000 foreclosed homes now vacant in the city.
“In the end, this is a positive thing for our neighborhoods,” said Tyler Nickerson, affordable housing advocate with the Grand Rapids Area Coalition to End Homelessness. Nickerson conceded the group had hoped to win more frequent certifications for rentals.
Landlords will have the option of applying for four-year or six-year certifications that their properties comply with city housing codes. An earlier version of the ordinance had specified a two-year certification option, which was dropped in a compromise with city landlords, something Nickerson and other housing advocates said they can live with.