The Michigan Student Assembly and the Ann Arbor City Council are in the final stages of modifying a city ordinance designed to prevent the fall housing rush. They are working to reduce the period landlords must wait to show a property from 90 days into the lease to 70 days and closing a loophole that allows landlords to skip the wait period if current tenants sign a waiver.
The ordinance was originally meant to give students more time to shop for housing. But since its ratification by the City Council almost a year ago, the ordinance has drawn some criticism from both landlords and students. Landlords don’t like the waiting period because they say it complicates renting properties. Students don’t like the ordinance because, as tenants, they say they feel pressured to sign a lease before the waiting period has expired.
Last week, the City Council’s student relations committee – made up of MSA members and City Council members – met with Ann Arbor landlords to review the ordinance.
The review was prompted by a clause in the original ordinance, which said it should be reviewed in one year.
The revised ordinance is a compromise for both students and landlords, Greden said.
“The students hated the waiver and the landlords hated the waiting period,” Greden said.
Greden said he hopes a resolution will go before City Council for the first time in December. That means it won’t affect most students until next fall.
MSA Vice President Mohammad Dar said the negotiations were a success for the students. He said the biggest problem with the ordinance was the waiver loophole.
In a few cases, prospective renters have attempted to bribe the current tenants to sign the waiver so they could rent the property before the wait period expired.
Dar is still talking with students and landlords but unless he finds something drastically amiss with the proposed ordinance, there probably won’t be any changes, he said.
Ann Arbor landlord Fred Gruber of Gruber Management said he’s against the ordinance, regardless of the changes.
“It really doesn’t matter because the law itself is flawed at its core because it’s based on a false premise,” Gruber said. “The premise is that the landlords are trying to make everyone rent early. That’s false. It’s the students that are originating the pressure to go early.”