So you’ve just completed a great rehab, right? Fresh paint, new carpet, clean toilets? Wait… did you remove the outlet covers before you painted? How about those windows…. did you paint them shut? You’re not alone. We see these items all the time as we perform rental inspections with the city of Kalamazoo. In this blog post, we will talk about the most commonly found Kalamazoo rental code violations.

As an investor, you need to remember that being a landlord has different responsibilities than owning and living in a home. One of those is complying with the Kalamazoo rental code. Most rental codes have similar lists, but there are always slight differences that vary by city. Because we not only manage many properties in Kalamazoo, but we also live and invest there, we have a unique expert insight into this market.

The most important point we can make is: You can complete a great rehab but not hit the rental code requirements for the city of Kalamazoo.

Most Common Kalamazoo Rental Code Violations


The city inspector will use a device to check the ground on your outlets, so it’s best to stay ahead of the game on this. Get a ground fault outlet tester and check your outlets. An outlet with three prongs must have a working ground. If it doesn’t, these are the options available to remedy the code violation:

  • Replace with a 2 prong outlet that doesn’t require a ground wire.
  • Replace with a GFCI outlet and label the outlet with “No Equipment Ground”

Fire extinguisher

Investors often forget about fire extinguishers. Not only are they required by the Kalamazoo rental code, but they also must be mounted in a path of egress. This usually means near an exterior doorway. The mounting of the fire extinguisher on this unit is near a doorway, but an interior one. So, it is questionable whether it will pass inspection or not.

Painted Outlets

New investors often overlook painted outlets. They hire a contractor that doesn’t know rental code or DIY and paint from floor to ceiling as quickly as possibly. HOWEVER, there are a couple items to remember when painting a rental:

  • Outlets MUST be removed and reattached after painting. If an outlet is painted over, you must replace it with a new one.
  • Windows cannot be painted shut.


We often see several issues with windows in rentals.

First, wood windows are often painted shut. If they are painted shut, they must be cut to be able to open FREELY.

Second, A window must stay open by itself. Often with older wood windows, the window weights have been cut. This willl cause the window to not stay open by itself. you will need to install a specialized spring that will hold open the window.


Three way switches must work so all lights can be turned on and off from top or bottom of a stairwell.


This is an item that we see in older rentals. To pass the Kalamazoo Rental Code, you must have a P-trap drain. If your sink has an S-trap, you will need to replace it with a P-trap. See this image from the City of Kalamazoo Rental Housing Inspection Checklist:

Illegal plumbing traps in the Kalamazoo Rental Code

Want More Information About the Kalamazoo Rental Code?

This is not a complete list of everything that will be checked in the Kalamazoo rental code inspection. You can check out the City of Kalamazoo website here for a longer list of rental housing inspection checklist items. This list will go over items like:

  • Exterior Areas
  • Fire Safety
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Basements
  • Handrails
  • Interior Areas

Even armed with all this knowledge, each inspector is different. A property manager is the best source of information in rental inspections and mitigating Kalamazoo rental code violations. If you have any questions about your rental or a code violation, feel free to reach out here or call us at 616-301-9450.

About the author

Aaron has over 13 years experience in property management. With a focus on accounting and the “numbers” aspect of real estate, he loves to see a good investment succeed. He also enjoys talking to new investors and helping them overcome hurdles to their success.