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Michigan city considers crime-free leases

When you read a lease agreement in one Michigan city, you might be surprised at some point in the future what can get you immediately evicted. An ordinance has been proposed that would include a crime-free clause in a lease agreement. While the new ordinance hasn't passed yet and is simply under discussion, in the near future, it could put some families immediately on the street if someone in the home commits a crime.

The idea of crime-free leases isn't new to the area. According to one police lieutenant for Saginaw Township, these leases have been in effect for the last two decades. The lieutenant says that the apartment complexes located in the township have had a dramatic decrease in crime rates. He also stated that crime-free leases have made it understood that "bad behavior is not going to be tolerated" in the apartment complexes.

Saginaw, Michigan's chief inspector wants to see the ordinance in place. He says that he wants to see apartment complexes safer. The inspector added, "[Crime] certainly doesn't promote home ownership. It doesn't promote people to maintain their home, stay in the city. Everyone wants to live where it's safe."

The inspector's plan is to bring together landlords and local leaders on the crime-free lease program. The biggest part of the plan is adding the crime free addendum to leases. The addendum would allow landlords to terminate a tenant's lease and immediately evict a tenant for criminal activity. There is no report yet as to what the actual wording of the lease would be or if a conviction would be required before an eviction occurs.

In most cases, a landlord must get a court ruling in his or her favor before evicting a tenant. This ordinance, though, would allow landlords to step around such legal proceedings. Those who feel as though they have been treated unfairly by their landlords do have legal recourse in many cases. An experienced real estate attorney can provide more information on your legal options.

Source: WNEM, "Proposed ordinance would terminate leases for criminal activity," James Felton, May 7, 2014

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