Rental Housing Program

Tom Bruursema, Building Official
Mike Williams, Code Enforcement Officer

The rental registration fee is $45 per rental unit. Registration fees and forms must be received by February 15 of each year or a $10 late fee per rental unit will be applied. Please contact the department if you have any questions.

Rental Registration Form
A Practical Guide for Tenants & Landlords

The City of Grand Haven recognizes the important to the generally health, safety and welfare for all its citizens, including its citizens who rent residential structures. The City therefore also recognizes a compelling interest in establishing standards for the maintenance of sanitary and safe residential rental structures and residential rental units in the City. The rental housing program is designed to promote the continued maintenance of quality and safe rental properties and to enhance and maintain property value of all properties and to reduce the cause of blight and other harmful factors affecting neighborhoods. In 2010, the City of Grand Haven had 697 properties registered as a rental. Of those 697 properties, there are 1,536 individual rental units. Rental properties account for 15% of total number of residential properties in the City.

rental housing chart

In accordance with Chapter 9, Article X of the City of Grand Haven Code of Ordinances, all rental properties must be registered with the City on a yearly basis.  The registration process requires an owner to complete the rental registration application form, available on the City’s website or by contacting the department, and submit the form along with the required registration fee ($45.00 per unit).  Once the property becomes registered with the City, an inspection will take place to ensure the rental property is in full compliance with all applicable codes.  Once the property passes inspection, a Certificate of Compliance will be issued. A Certificate of Compliance is valid for three years, unless the Building Officials has determined otherwise.

Short Term Rental Requirements

A Short Term Rental is defined as a dwelling unit providing transient accommodations for periods of less than one (1) month, more than three (3) times per year. Such rentals are only permitted in specific zoning districts as determined by the City of Grand Haven Zoning Ordinance. Existing certified short-term rentals may continue and transfer to new owners. New requests for short-term certification are possible in the following zoning districts: Southside (only properties that front on Franklin between 5th and Harbor), Old Town (only on Key Street Segments subject to special use approval), Central Business District, Dune Residential (subject to special use approval) and Waterfront-2. In addition, Short Term Rentals are permitted within Grand Landing, The Elliott on Seventh, and Harbourfront Condos. It should be noted that although a property may be located in one of these zoning districts, the property must be a legal conforming use and have sufficient off-street parking to be eligible to operate as a short-term rental.  Chapter 9, Article X provides some additional regulations for Short Term Rentals; including the requirement to display a copy of the Certificate of Compliance.

City Regulations – for display inside Short Term Rental Units
Short Term Rental Eligibility Map

Property Maintenance Code Enforcement

The Planning and Community Development Department strives to achieve voluntary compliance with the City’s Codes through a process of notification and increased education. To accomplish this end, a partnership with the Department of Public Safety was formed in 2008 and resulted in the creation of a new position; Code Enforcement Officer. The Officer assists the Department in enforcing the property maintenance code throughout the community with the ultimate goal of improving and maintaining property values and overall quality of life in the City of Grand Haven. To report a public nuisance for Code Enforcement investigation, please call (616) 842-3460 or send a complaint to SeeClickFix.

Property Maintenance Code Expectations for Property in Grand Haven


All complaints received will be examined and resolved in an efficient manner.  Falsification of a complaint can result in a Civil Infraction being issued to the person making the unjustifiable claims against a property owner.  No complaint will be acted on unless there is undeniable evidence that such violation took place.  Any complaint that represents an immediate health/safety risk should call 911 or call the Ottawa County Central Dispatch non-emergency line at (800) 249-0911. Tenants and occupants of rental property can also make a complaint with the Building Official if they feel that the rental property in which they reside is unsafe or does not meet the minimum code requirement.  This would include both interior and exterior conditions.  All persons who file a complaint will be asked for their name and address. The City does not interfere with landlord/tenant disputes (i.e., lease disagreements or late fees associated with delinquent payment of rent).