City of Houghton holds meeting for new rental property ordinance

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HOUGHTON, Mich. Over the past year a committee has been working on a new ordinance regarding rental properties in the city of Houghton.

"The committee was comprised of a few members of the planning commission, a subcommittee, plus some members of the city staff including the code enforcement rental inspector," said Ann Vollrath, the Assistant City Manager Clerk for the city of Houghton.

Their job is to look over the current rental ordinance, updating and clarifying it. These proposed changes were presented during a public hearing Wednesday night. The hearing is meant to see if there are concerns from the public. Also, if any changes are needed, before a formal vote.

The proposed ordinance is for obtaining a property license for rentals. It's being re-written to clearly state the process. It also removes the need for a public hearing for a license, and passing on a license in the sale of the rental property.

The changes also allow for revocation of a license, something the old ordinance was missing.

"There are conditions under which we would like to revoke a license, but we didn't have anything in the old ordinance to do that. Now our ordinance does have some teeth," said Eric Waara, the City Manager for the city of Houghton.

Landlords have mixed opinions on these changes

"They liked that they wouldn't have to go through a public hearing for a new license, but they're not all happy with the fact that if they sell it the license does not go to the new owner," said Vollrath

The changes proposed in the ordinance however shouldn't have an impact on tenants in the city of Houghton, and should benefit them in some cases.

"With some of the teeth going into this ordinance, it's making it a little bit easier for the city to enforce some of the property maintenance items that all properties in the city are subject to," added Waara.

There were no serious concerns with the ordinance and it was passed unanimously.

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