Changes to Holland renting rules proposed

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — The City of Holland is trying to crack down on rental properties.

It has been a hot button issue for the past year that has pitted homeowners against landlords; mostly in the Hope College area.

Tuesday night, The Holland Planning Commission recommended four possible changes to city ordinances to address rental problems. One is to decrease the maximum number of unrelated people allowed to live in the same house from six to four.

The second would require crime-free lease agreements for all rentals. Under those agreements, landlords would be require to pay a fine after three public safety visits that resulted in a citation or arrest within 12 months.

The third and fourth possible changes address parking requirements and zoning classification that could reduce the number of rentals in a neighborhood.

The goal is to stabilize single-family homes. But not everyone feels the suggested charges are the right course of action.

“To me, you guys are creating a lot more problems with this than what you see,” a landlord said at the meeting Tuesday.

The most controversial of the recommended changes was reducing the maximum number of unrelated people living in a home.

“I think reducing people from six to four is a ridiculous situation,” said a Hope College student.

He showed up with his mother, who said her son currently lives with five other people and she is worried rent will go up if the number of housemates decreases and her son will no longer be able to live on his own.

“He doesn’t want to come home and live with us because he’s 23 and wants to be out with his buddies,” she said. “And that’s what we want.”

But neighbors say six people is too many. They have safety concerns.

“It’s simply the density. Too many cars on the road. If there is a fire, trucks can’t make it,” said one woman.

Landlords argue reducing the number of people allowed in a home is counterproductive to the goal of preserving single-family homes because it will only increase the number of homes renters occupy.

“It’s supply and demand,” a landlord said. “You are going to kick how many of my kids out of homes, they are going to need a place to live.”

The city council will have a study session on Aug. 27 to look at the issue. It will meet three times before any final decision is made.

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