Saginaw considers crime-free lease ordinance - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Saginaw considers crime-free lease ordinance

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SAGINAW (WJRT) - (07/10/14) - Saginaw is considering an ordinance that would hold landlords accountable if their properties become a trouble spot for law enforcement agencies.

While the crime-free lease addendum is being considered, the city is already informing landlords when police or fire show up at their properties.

Saginaw is looking for landlords that don't invest or take care of their homes and then rent them out. Those places then turn into trouble for the neighbors and police.

"It gets to the point where the neighborhood is very upset with what is going on and you call the landlord in, and lay out what is going on, and there might be 30 police calls, and they are just dumbfounded," said John Stemple, Saginaw building inspector.

The city is now informing landlords each week of any visits by the police or fire departments to their properties.

"If nobody wants to inform us, it will just persist and maybe continue. This way, we can address it almost immediately," said William Schmitt, president of the Saginaw Landlord Association.

Schmitt's company operates more than 60 rental units in Saginaw and says the notification system is needed.

"We can then very specifically address a problem that is occurring in one of our rental units," he said.

The notification system is a precursor for a possible crime-free lease addendum that the city might put in place, where landlords could be held accountable for the actions of their tenants.

"Like a three strikes you are out clause. Three criminal acts occur at your property, then your license could be revoked if you don't do something to get that to cease," Stemple said.

Schmitt likes the concept of the crime free lease addendum - to a point.

"Will we be supported, and if they decide to put a landlord responsibility clause in this, it better be something that is sensible, and not punitive," he said.

The proposed crime-free lease ordinance has not yet been brought before the city council.

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