The Community Planning & Development Department oversees the Rental Registration & Certification Program to help ensure safe and sanitary rental housing within the City of Kalamazoo. The program requires all rental property to be registered and pass periodic inspections. Every rental property is subject to inspection including single family homes, multi-unit apartments, and hotels/motels renting rooms on a nightly basis. A standard Certificate of Compliance is good for 28 months; however property owners who meet certain criteria may be eligible for a 40 month certificate. In addition to the periodic inspections, Housing Inspectors also respond to tenant complaints as needed.
The International Code Council's International Property Maintenance Code is adopted as the residential property maintenance standard of the Housing Code. Local addendums to the IPMC are found in Chapter 17-48.
A list of registered properties is maintained online here. You can search by the property owner's name or the property address to verify if a property is certified.
Rental Fee Updates
Well-managed rental properties in compliance with city codes will see no increase in fees for 2020. The annual rental registration fee, inspection fees and all other rental fees will remain the same. Notable updates are highlighted below.
The City has seen a significant rise in rental property owners rescheduling or canceling their appointments at the last minute. Because of the notification requirements landlords must provide to tenants, these appointment slots are often not able to be backfilled with property owners on the waiting list. In addition, the rescheduled appointment takes a future slot away from other property owners in need of an appointment. In order to better utilize the cancelled slots and more effectively use inspector’s time, the City is adopting a $35 Appointment Cancellation Fee to encourage property owners to reschedule or cancel at least 72 hours in advance.
For properties that remain in noncompliance after multiple enforcement letters have been sent, the City Attorney will send a final warning letter that legal action will commence if the property remains in noncompliance. These properties will be assessed an Attorney Letter Fee of $150.
The No Show Fee for property owners/agents that miss appointments has been increased to $55. The No Show Fee is not the same as the Appointment Cancellation Fee.
Rental properties may be registered entirely online by completing this form. You may also complete an pdf Application for Rental Registration (250 KB) and submit it by mail, email, or fax. If you are submitting applications for multiple properties, it may be beneficial to complete the fields of the PDF that will not change and make a photocopy or print for each property. City staff will review your application and contact you to schedule an inspection, typically within a few days.
The Zoning Ordinance designates short-term rentals as a commercial enterprise, only permitted in certain zoning districts. These would include rentals let by the night or week. Residential rental property typically has rental terms of 30 days or more. The city regularly reviews online websites such as VRBO, Airbnb, Homestay and other websites for short term rentals operating in the city. Please contact the Zoning Inspector or Zoning Administrator more information on short-term rentals by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or by calling 269-337-8026.
Other Rental Information and Forms:
pdf Rental Certificate Guarantee Deadlines (46 KB) - The City of Kalamazoo guarantees owners of rental properties the ability to earn 40 or 52 month certificates if inspections are scheduled in a timely manner according to the deadlines in this document.
pdf Housing Inspection Checklist (138 KB) - This list contains commonly found violations and may help you prepare for an upcoming inspection. It is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all violations that may be found. We recommended you visit your rental property prior to your renewal inspection.
Service Request Form - Submit this form to file a complaint with a rental property. Whenever possible, tenants should provide written complaints to landlords before filing a complaint with the City. Fill out the Service Request Form and submit it online (please attach written documentation to your email), or by visiting Community Planning & Development Office at 415 E Stockbridge Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49001.
Fee Schedule - The Community Planning & Development Office's fee schedule outlines the fees applicable to applications, permits, and other services of the department.
Building Board of Appeals - The Building Board of Appeals (BBA) hears appeals and approves variances to the Housing Code when certain criteria cannot reasonably be met. To request a hearing, submit an pdf Application for Hearing (158 KB) .
Background Check - for a small fee, the Michigan State Police offer an instant background check on a prospective tenant. This background check covers the entire state of Michigan. A Rap Sheet can be requested through the Freedom Of Information Act. This will provide a list of local police contacts.
pdf Off Campus Living (111 KB) - First time renters are often unaware of community standards. This guide helps educate tenants and can help avoid fines or penalties.
pdf Time Extension Request (36 KB) - If you are unable to meet the deadline for a repair when cited by an inspector, you can request additional time by submitting this form.
Bed Bugs - Living with bed bugs can be extremely stressful. The City cannot treat or dispose of infested materials, but information on dealing with bed bugs is available in the Michigan Manual for the Prevention and Control of Bed Bugs and from many other sources including the Kalamazoo County Health Department.
Fair Housing Policy Statement
Equal housing opportunity for all persons, regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, familial status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability, is a fundamental policy of the City of Kalamazoo. The City of Kalamazoo is committed to diligence in assuring equal housing opportunity and non-discrimination to all aspects of its housing financing activities. The City of Kalamazoo has an ethical as well as legal imperative to work aggressively to ensure that the City of Kalamazoo financed housing programs comply fully with all state, and federal fair housing laws.
If you believe you are the victim of housing discrimination you can contact the Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan or call (269) 276-9100. Additional resources are available from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Michigan Legal Help, and Legal Aid of Western Michigan. You can also file a HUD complaint online or contact their housing discrimination hotline at 1 (800) 669-9777.