P.A. 169 of 2017 was approved by Governor Snyder in late November and takes effect on February 19, 2018. P.A. 169 is an attempt to clarify existing law regarding the inspection of multiple dwellings and rooming houses. Under the Michigan Housing Law (the “Housing Law”) a “multiple dwelling” is a dwelling used as a private dwelling occupied other than by a single family or two families sharing the dwelling; a “rooming house” generally means a dwelling occupied by one or two families but which also has rooms leased to non-family members.
Currently, if a lease provision permits a landlord to enter a property, then a local unit of government could rely on that provision as authority to enter the property for inspection. As a result of a recent federal district court case which found that extending a landlord’s right of entry to an inspecting agency violated a tenant’s Fourth Amendment rights, the Michigan Legislature amended the Housing Law.
Under P.A. 169, an inspection agency can only gain access to property occupied by a tenant if (1) the landlord obtains the consent of the tenant, (2) the lease expressly authorizes entrance by an inspecting agency, (3) the tenant has made a complaint to the inspecting agency, or (4) the inspecting agency serves an administrative warrant ordering access to the leased property.
P.A. 169 also requires that local units of government that have enacted ordinances providing for inspection of dwellings must inspect such dwellings that qualify as “multiple dwellings” and “rooming houses” at least every four years, unless a property’s most recent inspection found no violations of the Housing Law, in which case the time period between inspections can be increased to six years. All other forms of “dwellings” under the Housing law need only be inspected at “reasonable intervals.”