Did you know that in Grand Rapids, you can only have four non-family members living together in the same house?  Also, apparently, the city does enforce this particular code violation.

Hi guys I’m a college student from GV and heard a rumor that GR doesn’t allow 5 non family members to live together (we have 5 people looking for a 5 bed house to rent) is this true?

The answers varied a bit, but they agreed that there is a code for the city of Grand Rapids that no more than four non-family members are allowed to live together in a dwelling in the city limits. User ik1nky pointed out how Grand Rapids defines a "family" unit,

Any number of persons related by blood, marriage, adoption or guardianship, occupying a dwelling unit and living as a single nonprofit housekeeping unit; or not more than four (4) unrelated individuals eighteen (18) years of age or older living together in one (1) dwelling unit, having a relationship which is functionally equivalent to a family. The relationship must be of a permanent and distinct character, cooking as a single housekeeping unit with a demonstrable and recognizable bond characteristic of a cohesive unit.

Chances are if you went to college around here, you have a story about how you had five or maybe even six people living in a house somewhere around the city, or at least knew friends who did.  A lot of the comments talked about how if you're reported by a neighbor, you and the landlord can be punished.  It looks like the landlord takes the code infraction, which is a misdemeanor, and the residents just lose their place to live. That's IF you're reported.  The comments varied between "it's against the city code and you could get in trouble", and "don't be rude and you'll be fine".

Officially, there is a zoning law that only allows four people, not of the same family to live together in the city limits of Grand Rapids, although it is compliance-based.

RPOA lists the Grand Rapids Zoning code for rental properties as,

For the purposes here, we are primarily concerned with one-family, two-family and multiple-family dwellings available for rent. The operative word in the above definition of dwelling is “family.” The zoning code further defines “family” as follows:

Family shall consist of one (1) of the following:

(a) An individual living in a single dwelling unit.

(b) A group of two (2) or more persons related by blood, marriage or legal adoption living in a single dwelling unit.

(c) Not more than six (6) foster care children living in a single dwelling unit. This provision is subject to P.A. 396 of 1976 as amended (MCL 125.583b).

(d) Not more than four (4) unrelated persons eighteen (18) years of age or older living in a single dwelling unit.

(e) Not more than six (6) foster care adults living in a single dwelling unit. This provision is subject to P.A. 218 of 1979 as amended (MCL 400.701 to 400.737).


Hmm, well now you know.

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