On September 10th, 2021  a group of Ann Arbor landlords, led by the Washtenaw Area Apartment Association (WA3) filed a lawsuit against the City of Ann Arbor against the changes to the Early Leasing Ordinance (ELO) and to the City’s anti-discrimination ordinance. This despicable lawsuit represents nothing less than a declaration of war on Ann Arbor’s renters (the majority of the city’s population) and GEO condemns it in the strongest possible terms.

The change to the Early Leasing Ordinance was a result of months of struggle by GEO activists, CSG leaders, and regular residents, who participated by the hundreds to get this change passed. Prior to the passage of the ELO, landlords were permitted to pressure tenants into renewing their leases by showing their unit or threatening to rent it to someone else after only 70 days. Thanks to the hard work of renters, landlords must now wait until there are only 150 days left on your lease before they can start showing or leasing your unit to others. Your landlord also must send you the next year’s lease terms when there are 180 days left on your lease, giving you a full 30-days to make a decision. While this is a modest reform, it represents a huge victory for renters who no longer have to decide whether to renew before they’ve lived in their apartment for even 3-months. The status quo-ante represented a huge burden for renters who may have had to make a decision about renewal before they had gotten to know their roommates or known whether they’d even be in Ann Arbor the following year.

This lawsuit comes as no surprise to those who have been following the struggle for basic tenants’ rights in Ann Arbor. Landlords made their intentions clear in numerous public hearings, where they petulantly whined about the prospect of having to treat their tenants with a modicum of respect. Even though this policy change does not affect their bottom line, they still feel the need to fight for their ability to bully tenants. The change to the Early Leasing Ordinance was passed unanimously by City Council, and this spurious lawsuit – filed by many of our own landlords – is a slap in the face of every Ann Arbor resident. From our perspective, this lawsuit is less about the ELO’s modest provisions than about landlords refusing to accept that they are not the ones calling the shots anymore. Tenants are done being pushed around.

GEO’s Housing Caucus is calling on the University of Michigan to ban all landlords who are party to this lawsuit from advertising on any University housing fora and to recommend that students do not rent with them. The change to the ELO was overwhelmingly supported by UM students, and the University must use its considerable power to get the landlords in line and defend us.

Ann Arbor landlords cannot continue to treat their tenants like shit without us taking dramatic action.

The following landlords are party to the lawsuit:

  • Washtenaw Area Apartment Association,
  • Harbor-hill LLC, 
  • Wickfield Properties LLC, 
  • Deinco Properties LLC, 
  • Investor’s Property Management LLC,
  • 412 Hamilton Place LLC, 
  • 437 Hamilton LLC, 
  • 507 Glen LLC, 
  • Ewing Investment Corp., 
  • 1111 Michigan LLC,
  •  J Keller Properties LLC, 
  • 914 Woodlaw LLC, 
  • Varsity Management Inc., 
  • Arborstone Properties LLC, 
  • Issa Properties,
  • Nancylat LLC, 
  • Michigan Rental LLC, 
  • Washington Street Apartments LLC, 
  • Ptp Management LLC, 
  • Cabrio Properties LLC, 
  • Cabrio Campus Portfolio LLC,
  • Cobalt Ocean LLC, 
  • Campus Management Inc., 
  • Rushdi Saleh, 
  • Salah Alsarraf, 
  • Samaher Karim, 
  • Jeffrey Post
GEO Statement: Landlords Sue City Over ELO