Landlords object to Surrey proposal

By Pat Maurer

Although it wasn’t on Tuesday evening’s agenda, several landlords still came to the Surrey Township meeting to voice their objections to a proposed rental ordinance which would stipulate inspections of rental property.

Last November, Surrey Township Planning Commission Chair Mahlon (Buzz) Parsons recommended to the board Tuesday that the PC begin work on developing an ordinance to regulate rental properties.

Parsons said, “We have been investigating landlords who do not take care of their property. It is unbelievable just how bad the conditions of some of these places are. We need to establish a rental ordinance, not an invasive one, but we can’t do anything about it without an ordinance. We have to do something to take care of these (renters) people.”

He added, “We don’t want to stop business. We don’t want to make it intrusive on those who are doing a good job, but we have to do something. Shall we continue?”

At that meeting, the Surrey Township Board unanimously approved a motion to have the Planning Commission continue with the process to develop an ordinance.

Last month, Parsons reported that the first draft was ready for the Surrey Township Board to look over and make any changes if needed. If adopted, the ordinance would require rental inspections to protect both the landlords and tenants, he said earlier.

A Public Hearing on the proposed ordinance was held by the Planning Commission on June 11 at the Surrey Township Board Room.

In his report to the board at Tuesday’s meeting, Parsons said about a half dozen landlords showed up at the public hearing.

“The proposed ordinance met with a less than exuberant response,” he said, “No audience member voiced support, as cost and profit considerations seemed to be primary concerns.”
He concluded, “Based on the public hearing, we must report that the proposal was rejected by those attending.”

With 11 rentals in Surrey Township, Landlords Ron and Eunice Andreas even provided a written statement to the board Tuesday stating the reasons that they believe the inspections are not necessary.

“There are agencies that already do inspections on rentals – Mid Michigan Community Action Agency and MISHDA,” they wrote.

“People don’t have to rent a house they don’t think is fit. I asked my renters if they felt the need for inspections and one of them did.”

Eunice provided letters from six of their renters all supporting their stand. They suggested inspections should be in response to complaints from tenants not “across the board.”

In another matter, the board voted to hire Gre-Car Trucking of Grand Ledge to chip accumulated brush at the Transfer Facility. The company submitted the lowest bid for $4,000. Supervisor Russ Hamilton said the brush has been accumulating there for several years and now has to be cleaned up.

In other matters:

*The board adopted the 2012 edition of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1 Fire Code and the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code Ordinance.

*There was no objection to an application from Future Mold for 50 percent 12-year tax abatement on $359,857 in new equipment.

*The board agreed to look into possible health insurance compensation for board members.

*Commissioner Lynn Grim reported on activities at the county level and reported on several upcoming fundraisers and the upcoming Primary ballot millage renewal requests for Senior Services and the county 911 service.

*The board approved the payment of bills totaling $35,073.68.

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