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Vacant Building Certification

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Vacant Building Registration & Inspection

Registration, Inspection, & Certification Required

All vacant structures (houses, businesses, etc.) and vacant commercial spaces in retail centers that are unoccupied for more than thirty (30) days must be registered, inspected, and certified by the Office of Community Standards. Failure to do so can result in fines, additional fees, administrative search warrant and potential legal action. This includes unoccupied homes offered for sale. The purpose of this law is to prevent the deterioration of Township neighborhoods by regulating vacant abandoned and foreclosed single family and duplex properties to insure that such properties are in compliance with all applicable state law and Township Code requirements including the Township property maintenance code.



Vacant property means any structure that remains unoccupied for a period in excess of thirty (30) days and includes unoccupied homes listed for sale. Vacant property does not mean property that is temporarily unoccupied while the residents are away on vacation, tending to personal matters or business, or property that is not intended by the owner to be left vacant.


How Long is a Certificate Valid?

The Certificate of Compliance is valid for one (1) year, at which time you must apply for a new certificate for as long as the house remains vacant. 


Vacant Housing Violation Notice

The Office of Community Standards makes every effort to identify and contact the owners of vacant properties in order to achieve voluntary compliance with this ordinance. The Office of Community Standards sends a letter to the official address of record for the property owner and also uses other investigative resources in an effort to locate absentee owners.


Absent or Uncooperative Property Owner - Administrative Search Warrant to Inspect

If the owner of a vacant property is uncooperative or cannot be located, the Office of Community Standards will apply to the 14-B District Court for an administrative search warrant to inspect the house as a last resort. Administrative search warrant affidavits are first reviewed by the Township attorney and then presented to a judge or magistrate for authorization. Once authorized by the court, the warrant is served usually within twenty-four (24) hours. If a house must be forcibly entered, the door is secured with a padlock to prevent unauthorized entry. A copy of the authorized search warrant is left inside the premises for the owner.

In order to obtain an administrative search warrant, the Ordinance Officer must establish probable cause that:

  • The subject house has been vacant for more than thirty (30) days and is subject to enforcement pursuant to this ordinance, and
  • The property owner has refused to register the property or has refused to consent to an inspection, or
  • The property owner has not responded to enforcement letters sent to the address of record and otherwise cannot be located.


Code Violations

If code violations are found during the inspection, the property owner is served with a Notice of Violation. Life/safety violations and exterior blight must be addressed immediately to prevent further deterioration of the house and the neighborhood. Lesser violations may be corrected at a later time prior to the house being reoccupied. In some extreme cases, a house may be condemned and the Certificate of Compliance revoked. When this occurs, the Township attorney will record an affidavit with the county Register of Deeds to place any prospective buyer on notice about code violations. If purchased, the new owner accepts responsibility to make repairs.


Vacant Certification & Maintenance Forms

Upon successful completion of your inspection and payment of all fees, you will receive a Certificate of Compliance. The law requires that you notify the Township if the property is sold or re-occupied, and to whom the property is transferred. The Certificate of Compliance will be closed at that time and your obligation under the law is over.

Vacant Property Registration & Certification Application
This form is completed and submitted by the property owner and/or agent responsible for maintaining the property.

Utility Services

Please note that the property registration form includes an affidavit that addresses utility services. Affidavit signatures must be notarized. Gas and water service may be properly disconnected and the water pipes may be properly winterized to prevent burst pipes and water/mold damage. Electric service may also be disconnected unless the house has a basement equipped with a sump pump system for storm water management. Sump pumps must be maintained in good working condition to prevent property damage. This may be accomplished by leaving electric service turned on or by installing a battery powered system.


The Vacant Residential Property program uses the 2012 International Property Maintenance Code with certain changes customized for our community.


Fees & Contacts

Vacant Residential Property Fee Schedule
This is the fee schedule for various activities associated with the Vacant Residential Property program.

Ordinance Department Office Hours & Location

Monday - Friday
8:30am - 4:30pm (closed 12:00pm - 1:00pm daily)

Tilden R. Stumbo Civic Center
7200 S. Huron River Dr.
Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Contact Vacant Building Certification

734-544-4000 #1

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In order to better serve you and address your concern within the community, contact information is required to submit this online form.

If you wish to submit a report anonymously, please call our office at (734) 485 - 4393. You will not be required to include your name in the report.

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Charter Township of Ypsilanti  •  7200 S. Huron River Dr. Ypsilanti, Mi 48197  •  (734) 544 - 4000

Mon. - Fri., 8:30am - 4:30pm  •  Closed 12:00pm - 1:00pm daily