How to Survive the Inspection Process

When you have a rental property in Grand Rapids, you need to register it and get it certified by the City. The inspections process can be difficult and tedious, but we are here to help! In this blog post, you will receive expert advice on how to navigate the rental certification program and obtain your Certificate of Compliance with the City of Grand Rapids.

First, Register Your Rental Property

In Grand Rapids, you will need to register your rental property with the city in a reasonable time frame from the date of sale. To help you with this, we created this awesome video tutorial that shows you step by step on how to do it here. The City will then contact you or your manager to schedule your rental inspection.

Scheduling the Inspection

Once you complete your rental registration, the City of Grand Rapids will contact you to set up your inspection. You can expedite the process by calling the city at 616-456-3053 to schedule your inspection. If you have a property manager, your manager will arrange and attend the inspection. If you do not have a manager, you will need to be at the inspection when it occurs. Current residents will need to receive advanced notice of the inspection.

Rental Inspection Fees

Although it doesn’t cost anything to REGISTER your rental, there are fees involved to CERTIFY your rental. You will need to pay these to obtain your Certificate of Compliance from the City of Grand Rapids. These fees change occasionally, so be sure to check the Grand Rapids website here for an updated list of fees.

IMPORTANT: The fees increase if you do not complete the repairs AND get your rental reinspected in the allowed time frame.

The Grand Rapids Rental Inspection

Below you will find the most frequent items we see written up on inspections. For a complete list of the items that will be inspected, go to the city’s page here. Click on the “Schedule and Prepare for Rental Inspection” dropdown.

Exterior Inspection

Most inspections start outside. Here are the major items that the inspector will look for at your city inspection:

  • Roof: Make sure you’re not missing any shingles. Look at the chimney and the mortar.
  • Sidewalks: Check the walkways and driveway for trip hazards and take care of any cracks.
  • Stairs: Make sure your handrails are compliant – 4 or more stairs means you need a handrail. There are specific height and width requirements for the handrail and spindles (balusters). Check the wood on your stairs and make sure it isn’t rotting and risers are in place.
  • Siding:  Make sure you don’t have any peeling paint nor holes for a rodent to enter.

Interior Inspection

Next, the inspector will go through the inside of the unit.

  • Windows: They need to open properly and stay open on their own. The lock must work and keep the window securely closed. The windows should not have any cracks or broken panes. Windows also need a pin or stopping device that allows it to open only 4-6 inches and then stop.
  • Doors: must shut and be weather-tight. All exterior doors need peepholes and deadbolts.
  • Paint: Look for chipping paint on interior doors and walls.
  • Flooring:  Must be in good condition with no cracks in tiles and no tears in vinyl.  

Electrical and Mechanical Requirements

Further items we often see written up during the inspection are electrical and mechanical problems:

  • Outlets: Make sure to properly ground all three prong outlets. Inspectors will test these and if you aren’t compliant, you’ll need to improve the wiring or return to two prong outlet. You also need at least 2 outlets in every room.
  • GFCI Outlets: Make sure you have a GFCI receptacle installed on outlets within six feet from water. This is especially important in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry area.
  • Heating System: Make sure the boiler, furnace and hot water heater are functioning.
  • Permit Stickers: The mechanical systems must be inspected by a licensed and registered contractor. During the certification process, inspectors will note installations completed without a permit.

After the Inspection

After the inspection is finished, you will either receive a list of items to fix or told that you passed. If you have items to fix, they will need to be done and the follow up inspection completed by the given time frame. If you pass, you will receive your Certificate of Compliance for two, four or six years, depending on the property. This is also the time you will receive your bill for the inspection fee. Again, check out the city’s list of fees here.

After receiving your Certificate of Compliance, give yourself a pat on the back. You navigated the process successfully!


Questions or Problems?

We have helped countless investors through the rental certification process. Sometimes the “fix” is not simple nor obvious. It might take some problem solving skills to figure out how to make the repair up to code while staying within budget and timeframe. We are happy to help you through the difficult situations. Give us a call at 616-301-9450 or email us at

About the author

Eddie Beekman is the founder of "Give Your Clients Your Cell Number", because he believes there is no reason for poor communication! He tackles the daily management and maintenance issues that arise in the operations at APMG. Eddie is an excellent video blogger and likes to add humor to his videos. After 18 years of Property Managment you think you've heard it all, until tomorrow and it starts over.

Have questions you'd like to bounce off Eddie? Just give him a call or drop him a question through our contact form and he'll be in touch ASAP!