Renewing Rental Licenses

What you Need to Know About East Lansing Rental Property

  • All rental property must have a rental license. Occupancy of any dwelling by any person other than the owner of record shall be presumed to require a rental license.
  • All rental property has a licensed occupancy.
  • All non-owner occupied rental property must be inspected every 13 months.
  • All property must be in compliance with the inspection prior to receiving a rental license.
  • Renting without a rental license is against the law.

Renewing Rental Licenses

Annual rental license renewal reminders are sent out to property owners/managers with an enclosed renewal application. The reminders are typically sent 120 days prior to the expiration of the rental license. This time period allows adequate time to return the renewal application and renewal fee, schedule the annual inspection and make any necessary corrections if needed. Any application that is received after a license expires will be assessed a $25 late fee.

After the owner/manager returns the renewal application and renewal fee, the owner/manager should call to schedule the inspection. If a property owner/manager does not renew the rental license and continues to rent, it is a violation of the City Code. The owner/manager can be ticketed for every day the violations occurs. The tickets can cost up to $1,000 each.

Renewal Inspections

Owners are responsible for calling the Planning, Building & Development Department at (517) 319-6857 to schedule renewal inspections after the renewal form and fee have been submitted. It is advisable to act within 30 days of receiving a renewal notice.

Inspections are based on the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC). A few local amendments have been made to the IPMC, mostly in the electrical section. A copy of the IPMC is available for purchase for $25 (the cost to the City of East Lansing) and/or copies can be viewed in the Planning, Building & Development Department, 410 Abbot Road, or the East Lansing Public Library, 950 Abbot Road. A list of the local amendments to the IPMC can be obtained in the office or through the Code of Ordinances.

A set of Inspection Guidelines (PDF) have been developed to help explain expectations in meeting the code and outline what inspectors are looking for during an inspection. It may be beneficial to review the Inspection Guidelines in order to prepare for the inspection and to go through the property prior to the inspection to ensure smoke detectors are operational and all other code is met. The guidelines are based on the IPMC.

Code Compliance

Approximately 60% of all rental property is found to be in compliance at the renewal inspection. The remaining rental properties will require at least one re-inspection. For properties that have code violations, a letter will be sent to the owner/manager listing the violations and a date/time for the re-inspection. Owners/managers are encouraged to have the violations corrected in time for the re-inspection so that an additional inspection is not necessary. It is understandable that on occasion weather conditions or contractors will make it impossible to be in compliance prior to the re-inspection. For these situations, owners/managers can email Housing Administrator Annette Irwin requesting an extension of time.

When requesting an extension of time, please write why the extension is needed, what items the extension is needed for and how much time is needed. The Housing Administrator will reply with a new inspection date or the reason the extension cannot be granted. Please keep in mind that every time an inspection takes place a fee is charged. Do not wait for the inspector to come to the property and then ask for the extension as it will cost you an inspection fee.

Only one extension can be granted administratively. If additional extensions are needed the request will have to be made to the Housing Commission.

How Fees are Determined

The  Planning, Building & Development Department is a full-cost recovery division and operations are funded through fees. All overhead and personnel costs are taken into consideration when determining the fees to be charged. View the Housing License and Inspection Fee Schedule.