Luke Dinnan, Jonathan Pommerville
Jonathan Pommerville has sunk tens of thousands of dollars into his Detroit neighborhood, fixing dilapidated houses to make them livable and rentable. He’s making the neighborhood better and creating more housing supply.
Luke Dinnan and his wife have several rental homes in mid-Michigan aimed at middle-class households. They put countless hours into their rentals, with the goal of eventually using them to fund the college education of their young children.
But a bill package introduced in Lansing, inappropriately known as the “Renter’s Bill of Rights,” could upend their plans. These bills would:
- Essentially prevent landlords from using criminal background checks or credit ratings
- Require housing providers to rent to the first “qualified” applicant
- Make it very difficult to evict bad tenants
- Have taxpayers fund lawsuits against landlords and subject housing providers to expensive legal risk
The state and federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic cut the housing supply, increased costs for landlords and made inflation surge. All this has driven up rental and housing costs. Michigan lawmakers could respond by reigning in state spending and passing laws, such as statewide zoning reform, that would increase the housing supply. They are instead doing the opposite.
The Mackinac Center is working hard to draw attention to these bad policies and inform people about better legislative options. Our video reports on Pommerville and Dinnan have reached hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents. (You can find them on the Mackinac Center’s YouTube, X or Facebook channels.) Thousands more have read our opinion and news articles. And we recently hosted a bipartisan event on housing reform that featured real solutions.
Housing prices have skyrocketed, making it hard for middle and lower-income families to afford a place to live. Much of that increase is due to heavy regulation. The government is breaking the legs of the housing market and then having taxpayers pay for the crutches. Policymakers need to pursue free-market housing reforms so Michigan can compete with more affordable states that are gaining population.