Detroit Evening Report: Tenants coalition aims to protect Detroit renters’ rights with ‘Right to Renew’ ordinance

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Central City Apartments in southwest Detroit.

The Detroit Tenants Association held their first monthly meeting of the year Tuesday night, aiming to unify various efforts to secure renters’ rights in the city.

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Steven Rimmer and his neighbors banded together to address problems at their apartment building in New Center. Now leading the citywide association,  Rimmer says the first priority will be to stop landlords from refusing lease renewals.

“A Right to Renew basically would give a tenant the right to renew their lease at the end of their current lease,” Rimmer says. “And their landlord would be forced to offer them the lease before offering it to anyone else.”

According to Rimmer, Right to Renew would dictate that landlords pay re-location fees if they do not renew a rental agreement without a stated reason. He says he’s contacted Detroit City Council about drafting a Right to Renew ordinance similar to one adopted by Ann Arbor City Council last October.

A report by the University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions team found that over 20% of renters in Detroit — roughly 61,000 people — faced evictions in 2022 as COVID-era legal protections expired.

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  • Nargis Rahman
    Nargis Hakim Rahman is the Civic Reporter at 101.9 WDET. Rahman graduated from Wayne State University, where she was a part of the Journalism Institute of Media Diversity.