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Jackson considering ordinance to help renters in unsafe housing

For Rent sign
Kurt Bauschardt
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The city of Jackson is considering a new ordinance to protect tenants if their housing is declared unsafe.  

Officials say the city has been taking on the responsibility of finding and even sometimes paying for temporary housing for renters when inspectors declare their regular housing unsafe, in some instances to keep people from becoming homeless.

But they say it's really the offending landlord's problem for not fixing things like bedbug infestations or fire hazards in a timely manner.  

The new ordinance will require the offending landlord to pay for the temporary housing for tenants, for up to three months.  The city will locate short-term housing for five days, for which the landlord will reimburse it.  After that, the landlord will be required to find housing for the displaced residents.

Tenants will have the right of first refusal to move back in once the housing is declared safe to live in again.

State landlord tenant law does not address such situations.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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