Detroit landlords cry foul over city's strict new ordinances

Landlords say rules are too strict, deadlines too tight

DETROIT - For months, the city of Detroit has been cracking down on landlords, ensuring their properties are up to code and safe for tenants.

The operation is billed as a crackdown on bad landlords, but even some of the reputable landlords in the city are saying the rules are too strict and the deadlines for compliance too tight.

In several Detroit neighborhoods, contractors are bringing homes back to life.

"My investment group has over 110 houses," said Dan Villarreal, of Areli Detroit.

Now, the focus for landlords is to comply with the city. Landlords must register their properties, get them inspected by city officials and fix any violations as part of a new city campaign.

"We're in the 11 percent that came on board with what they were saying so we're scared that if you drive out our competition, we kind of need the competition," Villarreal said. "So does the city, and so do the tenants."

Villarreal said he has had to spend millions of dollars.

"You want us to fix it in a year and a half and then throw penalties at us," Villarreal said.

Chief of staff Alexis Wiley said the city isn't budging.

"If you can't live up to that responsibility, maybe you should think through whether you should be a landlord," Wiley said.

Villarreal said he's worried many investors, including himself, will move out.

"At the end of the day, I am not worried about investors," Wiley said. "I'm concerned about people."

The next deadline for landlords to get their properties in compliance is coming up in September.

You can view the full ordinance below.

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