The GAD Top Three | September 18th, 2023

Torch Lake Township Septic Inspection and Property Time of Transfer Ordinance Now In Effect; Rent Control Bill Introduced in the Michigan State House; and ADU Amendments Proposed in Acme and Paradise Townships

This week on the GAD Top Three: a new Torch Lake Township Septic Inspection and Property Time of Transfer Ordinance effective as of September 8th, House Bill 4947 was introduced to repeal Michigan’s current ban on rent control, and this past week both Acme Township and Paradise Township considered accessory dwelling unit (ADU) amendments to allow greater housing options in their communities.

1. Torch Lake Township Septic Inspection and Property Time of Transfer Ordinance Now In Effect

As of September 8th, a new Torch Lake Township Septic Inspection and Property Time of Transfer Ordinance has taken effect. Some key provisions of the Torch Lake Township Septic Inspection and Property Transfer Ordinance include:

  • An evaluation must be conducted prior to the property transfer unless:
    • A new or replacement sewage treatment and disposal system (STDS) was installed on the premises within ten years prior to the proposed date of transfer
    • An STDS has been evaluated and meets the requirements within 5 years prior to the date of the proposed transfer
  • If no record of a septic permit exists for a property, the septic system must be inspected within three years of notification by Torch Lake Township
  • A failed STDS shall be remedied within six(6) months or in a timeframe agreed upon by the Health Department of Northwest Michigan
  • Violation of the Ordinance can carry a fine of up to $5,000 for an offense and EACH DAY the violation remains may be a separate offense

A more comprehensive summary and links to the Torch Lake Township Septic Inspection and Property Transfer Ordinance and Time of Transfer Septic Inspection Application are available on the Aspire North Members Only Local and State Sewer, Septic, and Well Information page.

2. Rent Control Bill Introduced in the Michigan State House

On September 7th, Representative Carrie Rheingans introduced a Michigan House Bill (HB 4947to repeal Michigan Public Act 226 of 1988. If this bill were to pass, it would end the ban on rent control—which has been in place in the state of Michigan since 1988—allowing local governments to limit how much housing providers (or landlords) can charge for a unit as well as consider rent stabilization which puts a cap on rent increases. Based on research conducted by the Housing Solutions Coalition, while the intent of rent control laws is to assist lower-income individuals, history has shown that rent control exacerbates shortages, disproportionally benefits higher-income households, and ultimately drives up rents. Michigan REALTORS will continue to monitor this legislation moving forward. 

This is not the first and likely not the last time that conversations on rent control will be occurring at the national, state, or local level. In fact, at the September 5th Traverse City Commission Meeting during public comment, a Traverse City citizen called on the Traverse City Commission to consider rent control policy in Traverse City. In response to this comment, a number of Traverse City Commissioners expressed that maybe they will consider rent control in the future if the rent control ban is repealed…Educate yourself on rent control by checking out these resources on Rent Control curated by Aspire North REALTORS CEO Kim Pontius:

3. Acme and Paradise Township consider ADU Amendments

This past week, both Acme and Paradise Townships—at a September 11th Planning Commission Meeting (pages 11 to 13) and a September 13th Township Meeting (pages 25 and 26) respectively—considered ordinance amendments to define and allow accessory dwelling units (ADUs) as secondary dwelling units on properties for greater housing options in each community. Both proposed amendments would allow no more than one accessory dwelling to be permitted, require that the owner/occupant maintain their principal residence in the primary dwelling or the ADU and that an ADU total square footage not exceed the square footage of the principal dwelling. There are some notable differences between the two amendments as written. Acme Township’s proposed ADU amendment requires that tenancy of the ADU be for 6 months or more and can not be used as a short-term rental, while the Paradise Township’s ADU amendment would establish a maximum parcel size that can be considered for an ADU is five (5) acres.

Connor Miller photo
Connor Miller
Government Affairs Director

As the Government Affairs Director, I work to advocate for the real estate industry through programming that promotes the election of pro-REALTOR® candidates; engage, inform, and activate membership and local government officials on key local and state real estate policies; provide staff support to the REALTOR® Political Action Committee that invests members' voluntary contributions to protect and promote the real estate industry; and support the Aspire North memberships’ involvement in community projects to further grow and strengthen our region.