An ordinance specifying the number of adults who can live in one rental unit was finally approved by the City Council of Holland, Michigan, after much debate. The ordinance was passed on Oct. 1 in a 7-2 vote and reduces the number of adults who can live in a rental home or apartment unit from six to four.

The original debate surrounding the ordinance came from the fact that there was no grandfather clause with the original proposal. A grandfathering provision was added to the ordinance, allowing landlords who had rental units with up to six people currently occupying as of Sept. 1 to be exempt from the four-person maximum. Those landlords must notify the Department of Community and Neighborhood Services by the end of the year to qualify, and if a housing permit is allowed to expire or is revoke, the grandfather provision is not applicable.

The ordinance is aimed at getting more owner-occupied housing in neighborhoods traditionally home to rental units, but those against the grandfathering provision argue that its passing undermines the intent of the ordinance.

Landlords walk a careful line between ensuring that their renters do not disturb those around them and respecting their freedoms. Poorly maintained rental units, or those known for having noise issues, can drop surrounding housing values and make it harder for landlords to attract more affluent tenants trying to recreate the suburban atmosphere without the financial responsibilities of owning a home.

Whether landlords are dealing with staying in compliance with city ordinances or dealing with tenants who are not abiding by the terms of their leases, a residential real estate attorney can help landlords better understand their options and their rights.

Source: mlive, “Rental housing restrictions finalized in Holland; council remains split” Greg Chandler, Oct. 02, 2014

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