Letter to the editor

East Lansing rental regulations are progressive and necessary

Beware of efforts at ‘reform’


(The writer is a member of the East Lansing City Council.)

The City Pulse recently published an article about rental regulations in East Lansing (https://www.lansingcitypulse.com/stories/what-constitutes-family-east-lansing-homeowners-petitioning-for-reform,94387) that presented one-sided and incorrect information about the city's ordinances. The article described an effort to “reform” these ordinances through a citizen petition for a ballot proposal that would preempt them by amending the City Charter.

 Contrary to what the article presents, rental licenses are not required for people living together as a family, including those "whose relationship is of a regular and permanent nature and having a distinct domestic character or a demonstrable and recognizable bond.” 

East Lansing adopted this progressive definition of a family in the mid-1990s, at a time when marriage equality wasn't even on the horizon. We were ahead of our time in viewing families in inclusive terms. Eliminating this provision would be a step backwards.

In fact, the proposed Charter amendment described in the article is not about "reform" at all. It’s about turning back the clock to a time when investors gobbled up single-family homes to turn them into student rentals. According to the last census, the rental occupancy rate in East Lansing exceeded 60%. Without our rental regulations, this number would be far higher.

Voters should know that if this Charter amendment is adopted, East Lansing will become a very different place in just a few years.

 For more information, readers can contact me (Erik.M.Altmann@gmail.com) or review the city’s at-a-glance informational sheet about our rental regulations (https://tinyurl.com/kbxsmcrb).

(This story was updated to correct the spelling of the writer's first name and to properly identify him as a member of The East Lansing City Council.)


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