Grand Rapids Rental Certification Process

10 Replies


I am a Grand Rapids native and an active duty Army officer who currently resides just outside of Washington DC. I recently closed on a rental property in GR and am going through the process of getting it registered and certified through the city. Reaching out to BP to see if anyone has experience with this process and would mind sharing some tips and lessons learned to ensure a first-time go on the inspection.

Kyle, I have extensive experience with this process (in fact my brother works for code compliance)  I also own a property management company in the area and would love to help in any way I can. 

Hey Kyle,

I just started investing in Grand Rapids. I bought my first rental last year, and just put my second one under contract last month. My appointment for the certification on my first property is next week - we applied 11 months ago. I can tell you more after that. At this point all I know is that they are very far behind, lol.

From what I've heard from other investors it is like a lot of other inspections. If they start to find problems/issues, and it is clear that you have made no effort to be compliant they will continue to look and dig for more. If you address issues, present a quality property, and make it clear that you intend to do everything right and keep everything safe for the tenants it shouldn't be a big deal.

Good luck investing!

The inspections are fairly straight forward.  They are mostly checking for safety issues and making sure the home is livable.  If you don't pass they will give you a list of things to fix, and a time frame to get them done.  Some issues that I have run into were:

Lights with no globe

Lighting in shared areas ( lighting must be able to turn on from all entrances)

Trip hazards in driveway

All door must open, shut and latch properly.

 Below is the city's basic requirements.

FYI Some things in the list don't need to be on the house, but need to be in working order if they are.  Example:  Gutters 

There is a cost for your city cert. plan for that.

Like others have said, pretty straightforward inspection. I got dinged for a toilet seal, 2 missing globes and one window lock. Overall, if you keep your properties in good shape and are aware of the happenings around them you should be good.

The City uses the 2012 Property Maintenance Code.  Pick up a copy and make sure you have everything up to snuff with the code (there are a couple things that the City requires outside of that, e.g. window pins--so look for those from the City).  There is a course on the inspection program you can take--private message me and I can give you the details.  (The inspections are pretty straightforward as others have said--but, be aware, some things are subjective, i.e. you might think the driveway is great but the inspector might believe it needs replaced, repaved, or repaired--just be prepared.)

A couple of other pointers:  Make sure you're personally onsite for the inspection--not someone else.  If you are, you're eligible for verbal orders and won't be written up for a small number of minor violations.  If you're not there, you'll be written a Notice of Violation (NOV) and charged for the NOV. Treat the inspector with respect and be cheerful--not doing so will only cause you grief.

You should be a four year cert.   

Good luck!

@Kyle Brinks I just went through the inspection a few days ago. Pretty easy. They asked me to fix a few light bulbs, tighten a railing, touch up some chipped concrete, and fix some paint starting to chip on the outside. As stated before, they could tell we were trying to maintain a nice product for our tenants, and they were fair but firm.

@Jeremy Scherer thanks for the update. I was able to get my inspection last Thursday as well. My inspector was pretty good about teaching me what he was looking for and why throughout the inspection. They had me add window pins the 8 of the first floor windows (had no idea what those were until the inspection), repaint the house numbers because they matched the side of the house because first respondents would have a hard time seeing them, and I had to buy and install a new window for an upstairs bedroom (old one was double-hung and too small to egress out of). That cost me about $250 to replace it with a casement window of the same size. 

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