Rental Certificate Standards Changes – City of Grand Rapids

Jon from Simple Property Management discusses recent changes made by the City of Grand Rapids to rental certificate standards. The changes include the requirement for carbon monoxide detectors, updates on heating requirements, and alterations to certificate durations. Additionally, there are new provisions related to lead paint enforcement for rental properties. See the 2023 Amendments Summary (PDF).

Summary of property maintenance code

Carbon Monoxide Detectors:

Carbon monoxide detectors are now mandatory for all rental properties, which Jon considers a reasonable insurance policy.

Heating Requirements:

Portable space heaters are no longer sufficient to meet the heating requirements for rental properties.

Notable changes to local amendments to the property maintenance code City of Grand Rapids

Certificate Duration:

Single-family homes can now obtain a two-year certificate. To qualify for a six-year certificate, the property must have previously held a four-year or six-year certificate. If a property had a three-year certificate, the best it can now get is a four-year certificate.

Transfer of Certificate of Compliance:

Previously, property owners had only 90 days to transfer the certificate of compliance after putting the property on the market. Now, they have 365 days to transfer it, pending the new owner’s completion of necessary registration.

Lead Paint Ordinance:

  • The city has introduced new enforcement measures regarding lead paint in rental properties. Keep in mind this is for properties that were built pre-1978.
  • During the rental certificate process, even if the property passes the visual test, certified individuals will take dust swipes to check for lead violations. If violations are found, remediation is required within the specified time to avoid a lead dust sampling violation.
  • If it is a larger multi-family unit (more than 16 units), they will only do the dust swipes in the units they walk through.
  • Inspections for lead violations may be initiated upon various types of complaints filed with the city. It does not clarify what type of complaints this includes. Does this mean if someone complains about a broken door and the city comes out to inspect it, they can also cite a possible lead issue at that time? This is not clear.
  • City Code Chapter 12 Lead Based Paint (PDF)
1204.1 Inspections for lead violations for certificate of compliance

There are two options for dealing with lead violations:

Property owners can hire a lead-based paint inspector risk assessor to certify the property as lead-free, or they can undertake lead abatement and get a clearance test showing no elevated lead levels.

Dust Sampling:

  • Dust sampling will be conducted on interior window sills and floors but not on open porches.
  • The threshold for lead on floors is less than 10 micrograms per square foot, and for window sills, it is less than 100 micrograms per square foot.
  • Dust samples will be taken from no more than four rooms with at least 1 bedroom and the living room being sampled.
  • For properties with fewer than three or four rooms, all rooms will be sampled.
  • The conflict of interest requirement basically says you cannot get certified to be a screener and screen your own properties.


Exempted properties include single-family owner-occupied dwellings, rental properties designated for occupants aged 55 or older, hotels or motels (excluding extended stay facilities), and properties exempt under specific sections of the code.

Occupant Protection:

If a property tests high for lead, lead-certified companies must conduct the remediation work, and occupants must be outside the property during the process. Property owners should address this situation in their lease agreements.

Learning More About the New Ordinances

We encourage you to stay informed about the lead paint ordinance by attending city meetings, attending an informational class listed below, and seeking additional information on the city’s website.

Information classes for the new ordinance

TUESDAY, AUGUST 1 2023   (150 SEATS)
12:00 – 2:00 PM
Diocese of Grand Rapids Conference Center
360 South Division Avenue

6:00 – 8:00 PM
Development Center
1120 Monroe Avenue NW—2nd floor

12:00 – 2:00 PM
Development Center
1120 Monroe Avenue NW—2nd floor

Looking for a property management company in Grand Rapids?

If you have questions about the rental property registration process or other property management questions, feel free to reach out to Jon at or (616) 329-6318.