Rental Requirements

This page aims to clarify current state and local requirements for operating a rental property in the city of Detroit. Rental housing registration and certification laws and ordinances exist to help Michigan cities identify and regulate rental units to ensure safer and better quality housing for tenants and the surrounding community. Under the Michigan Housing Law (MCL 125.401, et seq.), cities are authorized to regulate multi-family rental housing, including requiring that a Certificate of Compliance be obtained prior to occupancy of a rental unit. Detroit also adopted a local ordinance to regulate one- and two-family rental properties, which account for a large supply of rental units across the city.

Review the City of Detroit’s Rental Property Ordinance.

Download: Step-by-step Diagram for Reaching and Staying in Compliance.


Landlords and rental property managers are responsible for the majority of Detroit’s housing units, and therefore play a pivotal role in the stabilization and revitalization of Detroit’s neighborhoods. BSEED, has developed a Landlord Compliance Manual to help landlords easily access critical information and resources to operate their business in the city. The Landlord Compliance Manual is intended to provide clarity to landlords on the City’s ordinance requirements, simplify the process for reaching compliance, and help connect landlords to cost-saving resources to improve their properties.

Contents of the Landlord Compliance Manual include:


  • Rental Requirements - The basics about state and local requirements for landlords operating a one, two, or multi-family rental property in the city of Detroit.
  • Register Your Property - Walking landlords through a few simple steps to register rental property with the City.
  • Obtain Certificate of Compliance - Each step in the process to apply for and obtain your Certificate of Compliance in order to rent out your property.
  • Inspection Tips - Helping landlords prepare for the City’s property inspection, offering a pre-inspection list that highlights the most commonly found violations.
  • Addressing Lead - Lead hazard abatement requirements and tips for obtaining your Lead Clearance Report if you own a rental property built before 1978.
  • Maintaining Your Property – Maintaining your rental property between inspections, obtaining permits and working with contractors to make improvements, and preventing damage to your property during periods of vacancy.
  • Resources - Helpful tips and contacts to improve and maintain your property, lower your business operating costs, find qualified tenants, and purchase property.