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Frank A. Douglass Insurance Agency

Too Many Tenants–Houghton & Hancock Deal With Mounting Complaints

A half dozen cars or more, yards a mess, loud parties, and reckless drivers down residential streets—that’s what local homeowners are saying they’re dealing with because of too many college students living in a single rented home.

A group of Hancock residents called on the city council to take action Wednesday at their regular meeting, following a similar complaint presented to the City of Houghton Rental Housing Board last week.

The problem stems from having more tenants living in a rented home that what local R1 ordinances allow.

Though the ordinances differ somewhat between Houghton and Hancock, both cities have restrictions on the number of unrelated people living in a rental home.

Other restrictions, such as needing adequate parking spaces, are also outlined in the respective ordinances.

Many local residents say these restrictions are not being enforced strictly enough.

Hancock doesn’t have a code enforcement officer, but Houghton does.

However, the city must rely on neighbors to contact police and lodge a complaint.

In either case, city officials are finding it difficult to crack down on violators because, even when ample evidence is presented to authorities, there are still legal limitations on what officials can do to verify who should be living at a residence and who should not.

It’s a frustrating situation for both cities and their residents.

Houghton has recently begun to scrutinize rental license applications more closely, while the Hancock city council promised to review their ordinances and send a letter to one landlord suspected of being in violation.

What else can be done, remains unclear.

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