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Michigan Waterfront Alliance Board of Directors Passes Resolution Supporting ‘Fair and Balanced’ Legislation that Would Enable Continued Local Government Regulation of Short Term Rentals

By September 15, 2019News


1. We want our Michigan elected representatives at the state level to continue to support the ability of local governments (townships, villages, cities, and other entities) to be able to make zoning and enforcement decisions at the local level concerning the operation, permitting, and control of people visiting short term rentals and Airbnb-type rentals of private homes. Thus, we are in general opposition to House Bill 4046, AS CURRENTLY WRITTEN, and similar Michigan legislative bills, which would make state-wide decisions that eliminate or significantly limit local zoning control of residential housing used for short term or Airbnb-type rentals.

2. We hereby ask the Michigan legislature to continue to study the short-term rental (Airbnb-type) of residential housing issue and work toward fair and balanced bill(s) which would allow for limited short-term rentals in Michigan and still enable local government zoning control. We would also like our elected representatives to be aware of the fact that expanded short term (Airbnb-type) rentals of residential homes carry the potential of adding additional burdens on local government with no additional revenues.

Download and Read Proposed Short Term Rental Legislation

House Bill 4046

House Bill 4554

House Bill 4555

House Bill 4556

A Sampling of Articles Focused on Michigan’s Current Short
Term Rental Legislation Controversy

Michigan Municipal League

Short Term Rental Legislation Quickly Reintroduced in New Term

Posted on January 25, 2019 by Jennifer Rigterink

Last week House Bill 4046 was introduced to amend the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act. This legislation is the same bill introduced last term (House Bill 4503). If passed, it would:

  • Eliminate a local unit of government’s ability to regulate short-term rentals (defined in the bill as a rental of 28 days or less).
  • Mandate all short-term rentals are a residential use of property, permitted in all residential zones.
  • Eliminate the ability for additional regulations (i.e. special use or conditional use permits, rental registration, inspections, etc.) for short-term rentals unless all dwellings (i.e. owner occupied) in the zone are also subject to the requirements.

The legislation puts in place a preemption upsetting the balance between and healthy local economy, property rights and an established, transparent process for zoning. The Michigan Zoning Enabling Act lays out the process for local governments to draft regulation driven by public input through an open process. House Bill 4046 undermines local government decision making and removes the voice of local stakeholders, rendering local government powerless to act. It would eliminate the ability of local government to regulate short term rentals in residential neighborhoods negatively impacting property values and quality of life.

To read more of the article, click here

The Detroit News

Lawmakers seek to end local bans on vacation rentals

Beth LeBlanc, The Detroit News Published 5:45 a.m. ET May 7, 2019 | Updated 9:59 a.m. ET May 7, 2019

Local bans on short-term rentals in Michigan could be barred themselves under controversial legislation being considered by a Republican-controlled state House committee.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jason Sheppard, R-Temperance, said the local zoning rules created to ban short-term rentals such as those available through Airbnb, Homeaway and VRBO infringe on private property rights and are an abuse of Michigan’s Zoning Enabling Act.

To read more of this article, click here

The Lansing State Journal

East Lansing pushing back on state proposal to limit regulations on Airbnb, other short-term rentals

Megan Banta, Lansing State Journal Published 6:30 a.m. ET May 9, 2019

EAST LANSING — Local officials are pushing back on a state proposal that would bar communities from banning Airbnb and other short-term rental options.

The bill, if passed, would ban communities from prohibiting short-term rentals through local zoning rules.

Officials in East Lansing don’t prohibit short-term rentals, but the bill might impact the way they currently regulate them through permits. They also have concerns about how other parts of the proposed law could impact local rules.

To read more of this article, click here

Detroit Free Press

New Buffalo official: On-line home rentals became ‘Animal House’ situations

Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press Published 8:00 a.m. ET May 29, 2019 | Updated 9:26 a.m. ET May 29, 2019

New Buffalo, the first stop for many visitors to Michigan entering from Indiana on eastbound I-94, calls itself the “Gateway of Michigan” and has long been a summer getaway for Midwest vacationers.

But last month, after much discussion, the city joined other municipalities that have added rules for residents using online rental services like Airbnb and HomeAway to rent out their homes.

“We had a number of residents complain about some short-term rentals in town,” David Richards, New Buffalo’s city manager, said last week as he headed to his own Memorial Day vacation in Las Vegas. “They were having late-night parties, pool parties, and kind of like ‘Animal House’ situations going on.”

To read more of this article, click here

AP News

Proposed Michigan bills address short-term rentals

Noah Hausmann

March 10, 2019

Which should come first, a city ordinance or a state law?

In Michigan, the issue of short-term rentals has been controversial in several communities, as websites like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway have gained popularity in many vacation spots worldwide.

These websites collect fees for connecting property owners with vacationers, who want to short-term rent their room, house or apartment, rather than stay in a traditional rental unit, such as a hotel.

Short-term renting residences blurs the line between homes and vacation properties, and some people are concerned about factors such as the impact on the traditional rental industry, the availability of long-term rental housing and the effects of having a greater transient population.

To read more of this article, click here

On the Moody Market

Mi Restaurant and Lodging Association Backs New Legislation to Regulate Short Term Rentals

By Pat Moody | Posted May 2, 2019 | Upon Further Review

In a bid to find solutions for the seemingly never-ending issues over short-term rentals in communities from Harbor Country to St. Joe, South Haven and elsewhere across the Great Lakes State, the Michigan Legislature is taking up a 10-bill package to help regulate the future. It didn’t take long for the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association — MRLA — to get on board with the proposed legislation.

House Bills 4554 through 4563, introduced into the State House of Representatives today, attempt to address the growing concerns with largely unregulated expansions in short-term rental properties across the state, and the MRLA has immediately thrown strong support behind the 10-bill package. Justin Winslow is President & CEO of the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association. He says, “The hospitality industry, like so many others, is changing rapidly amid a generation of technological disruption,” and argues, “As the lines between hotels and short-term rentals begin to blur, it is increasingly important that we enact a fair and responsive regulatory structure that ensures the safety of all of our guests, regardless of where they stay.”

To read more of this article, click here

Bridge Magazine

Short term rental advocates, foes work toward a deal on laws in Michigan

by Lindsay Van Hulle(Bridge)

Michigan policymakers are again working to regulate short-term rentals such as those on sites like Airbnb, as they try to balance neighborhood concerns with private property rights.

But unlike previous attempts in Lansing, legislators are enlisting the help of groups that have fought on opposite sides of the issue.

Since the spring, a group of local government advocates, hotel representatives and real estate agents -‒ all with strong, often conflicting stances on how to manage the growing short-term rental industry -‒ has met to find middle ground.

To read more of this article, click here

The Manchester Mirror

August 19, 2019

Freedom Township Declares Pleasant Lake Airbnb in Violation of Ordinance

Freedom Township Board met for its monthly meeting on Tuesday, August 13th. Many residents came to present their complaints about 5202 Happy Hollow, which has recently become a short-term rental listed on The board agreed with the residents and unanimously voted to have the township lawyer inform the owners of the home that their commercial use was in violation of township ordinances and needed to cease immediately. The board also agreed to direct its lawyer to inform the owner of any other relevant ordinance violations.

To read more of this article, click here