Detroit cracks down on bad landlords to help keep renters safe

Landlords must register properties to avoid paying fines

By Karen Drew - Reporter/Anchor, Derick Hutchinson

DETROIT - The city of Detroit is putting bad landlords on notice, issuing an important message aimed at keeping residents safe.

Many problems with landlords in Detroit pop up when winter sets in and the heat goes out, but building inspectors are getting ahead of the curve and sending a message to make sure rental properties are up to code and safe for tenants.

Local 4 Defender Karen Drew went to the first targeted neighborhood on the list, ZIP code 48215, which is along Jefferson Avenue between Connor Street and Alter Road and goes north to Warren.

Landlords in the targeted area must register their rental properties with the city.

Marsha Winn, 65, has lived on Marlborough Street for most of her life. She said she loves the area, but she doesn't like landlords who rent homes and don't keep them up.

READDetroit cracking down on landlords allowing residents to live in unsafe conditions

Detroit officials are serious about moving the city forward as it relates to blight and bad rental conditions.

David Bell, director of Detroit's Building and Safety Engineering Department, said ever since the warning went out to register rental properties or pay big fines, most landlords have responded.

"The landlords are reaching out to us in droves, coming down with 50 to 100 properties and registering them and sitting down and wanting to know, 'How can we come in compliance?'" Bell said.

Landlords who have a property in ZIP code 48125 must be registered, and renters can go online and check for themselves.

"If we verify it's not registered, they will get a ticket at least every two weeks for $250," Bell said.

The next ZIP code to be targeted will be 48224, and landlords who have property in the area must register by June 1 or face a $250 fine.

City officials said registering a property only takes about five minutes. The problem is there are many properties being rented that the city wasn't aware of, and landlords weren't keeping the properties up to code.

Click here to check if your rental property is registered.

Here is a map that shows the order of the neighborhoods being targeted:

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