A House Rental License is required of any entity that rents any type of housing unit. Similarly, an Accessory Apartment License is required of any entity that rents a self-contained living area within a single-family home. These licenses are issued to a landlord when the town deems that the house or apartment has met all applicable housing, sanitary, building, electrical and fire codes, rules, and regulations.
- Sample House Rental License: Click here
- Sample Accessory Apartment License: Click here
Please contact your local township to learn more about whether licenses of this nature are required to legally rent out a property. Furthermore, each township's license may look different from the sample above.
Safety & Legal Information
- Check to make sure the property has the appropriate smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and that they are either hard-wired into the electric system of the home or have fresh batteries.
- Owners of buildings built before 1978 must tell you of any known lead-based hazards and show you relevant records before you rent (Important for small children)
- Try to check out the neighborhood at different times of the day. There may be safety and/or noise issues that become apparent at different times of the day.
- Check if the windows and entrances all lock and are working. None should be broken.
- You cannot be evicted without a full legal process. If you have been illegally evicted or locked out by your landlord, call the police.
- If you are unsure about your rights as a tenant, consult a lawyer.
- Generally it’s a bad idea to put money down to “hold the apartment.” There’s a high chance you won’t get it back.
- Know where Small Claims Court is located and where to file complaints online.
- Know where Landlord/Tenant Court is located.
- If you are having problems with your landlord, communicate in writing, either via email or postal service. If the problems worsen, you should consider contacting a lawyer.
- Consider getting renter’s insurance. You and your possessions are not covered by the landlord’s insurance. Renter’s insurance typically cover damage caused by fire, theft, vandalism, utility malfunctions (plumbing and electricity), weather related damage and other hazards.
- Never resort to violence or physical confrontation with your landlord or fellow tenants.
- Once your landlord receives your security deposit, s/he must provide you with a list of any existing damages or certified violations of the Sanitary Housing Code. It is best to hold the list for the entire 15 day period before signing because some potential damages like a leaky roof are not readily noticeable.
More Safety Tips
- Look for signs the space is likely not legal: is the apartment or bedroom in the basement or next to a boiler?
- If it is a basement, is there at least 7 feet of head room?
- Does the dwelling have a working smoke detector inside and outside of each bedroom on each level?
- Is there a fire escape or stairs to help you get out of higher floors in case of an emergency, or is there a working sprinkler system?
- Are there two exits from every room in your dwelling?
- Are exit routes kept clear?
- Are public halls free from goods and materials, furniture, etc.?
- Are furnaces, stoves, and stove pipes kept in good repair and located far enough (at least two inches) from combustible walls and ceilings so that they do not create a hazard?
- Is there a carbon monoxide detector near bedrooms or sleeping areas and on each level? Plug in carbon monoxide detectors are best because they are lower to the ground and carbon monoxide is heavier than oxygen. If you buy these you can also take these with you when you move to your next dwelling!
- Is the outside door solid wood or strong metal clad with good quality locks?
- Are there working locks on the windows? Do the windows work?
- Are there windows within 40 inches of door locks?
- Are the bushes and shrubs near windows trimmed back?
- Are the strike plates on each door adequately secured?
- Do door locks have deadbolts with a minimum one-inch throw?
- Are the door hinges pinned to prevent removal?
- Is there a peephole or a side light in the front door?
- Are all of the outlet covers on and secure?
- Is there any exposed wiring?
- Are there any fixtures hanging from the ceiling?
- Is there at least 80 square feet for one person in a bedroom and an additional 50 square feet for a second perseon?
- In the bathroom, are all of the tiles in place and fixtures working?
- Are there any cracks in any of the fixtures (like the toilet,etc.)?
- Is the paint chipping or flaking from walls, windows, or ceilings?
Adapted from The Gael Guide to Off-Campus Housing.
tem·po·rar·y ren·tal reg·is·tra·tion