The RPOA of Michigan carries out is mission by proactively supporting and promoting legislation favorable to the rental property and real estate investment industry and fighting legislation not favorable to the industry. The following activities are a short summary of some of the actions taken over the past few years to influence public policy.
The end of the 2021/22 Michigan legislative session is nearing. The only bills that are pending are those that have reached the Governor’s desk.
On the positive side, there are two bills that would positively impact the rental housing and real estate industry awaiting the Governor’s signature. The first one, the ESA or emotional support animal bill, passed out of the House and Senate nearly unanimously. The Governor’s office is weighing whether or not the bill, if signed into law, would jeopardize Michigan’s HUD funding. Proponents of the bill, including the RPOA-M, do not believe the law would do so as a similar law was passed in California without consequence.
The second bill is a package of bills that would enable local governments to enable the use of enterprise zones and tax abatements for residential housing that would assist locals with encouraging the development of affordable housing. At the time of this writing, the Governor is expected to sign the bill package.
A bill that showed promise of making to the Governor’s desk, the short-term rental bill, did not make it out of the Senate committee and will therefore have to be reintroduced next session.
It is expected that the new legislature coming into office in 2023 will be focused on programs to increase affordable housing, provide for eviction prevention and other actions—some of which will make it more difficult for rental property owners and managers to protect their assets and other tenants from harm. The RPOA-M will remain diligent in its fight against detrimental legislation and continue to promote positive legislation that can expand affordable housing opportunities and keep housing costs from escalating.
PREVIOUS LEGISLATION PROMOTED & PASSED DUE TO RPOA-M INFLUENCE
Removing Mandate for Rental Inspections – Prior to the passing of this bill, larger cities within the state were required by state law to operate a rental inspection program. Rental inspections are now voluntary.*
Tenant’s Right to Refuse Rental Inspections – Many tenants were being threatened with fines or, worse yet, with eviction by a municipality if they wouldn’t allow a municipal inspector into their home. The law now makes it clear that municipalities may not enter a rental unit without the permission of the tenant unless there is an emergency or an administrative warrant is obtained for just cause.*
24 Drug Evictions – Prior to the passing of this bill, landlords were limited to a 7-day eviction notice for drug related activities—even though many municipalities threatened condemnation of a rental property if the offending tenants were not evicted. The change in law now allows for a 24-hour notice period for drug activity.*
Increased Limit for Recovering Attorney’s Fees – At regular intervals, the RPOA-M request an increase of “taxable cost” allowed or those cost that a landlord can recover for attorney’s fees from an eviction hearing or trial.*
Small Claims Limit Increase – Prior to the passing of this bill, small claims cases were limited by a fixed dollar amount and had to be increased through law every few years. A substantial increase was made several years ago that also created an automatic adjustment upwards for the small claims limit without further legislation.
Garnishment of Welfare Payments – A change was enacted to allow up to 10% of welfare income to be garnished for money judgments, including those for past due rent and damages.*
* Indicates bills proactively pursued by the association.
PREVIOUS BILLS FOUGHT AND DEFEATED IN RECENT PREVIOUS LEGISLATIVE CYCLES
Bill to repeal the rent control act
Bill requiring landlords to register tenants as voters
Bill prohibiting certain clauses in a land contract
Bill mandating lead inspections for rentals
Bill requiring landlords provide recycling services
Bill requiring court-appointed conservators for blighted property
Bill mandating replacement of lead water service lines
Bill requiring proof that drug activity was committed by convicted person to evict for drugs
Bill to remove the ability to evict drug offenders