I hope this note finds you well as we begin the summer season.  

We have a hot legislative item receiving attention and I’d like to bring

your attention to Senate Bill 329 and House Bill 4503.

Michigan Realtors® is working on a legislative concept to preserve short-term property rental rights and vacation rental options.  The Public Policy Committee believes that an owner’s ability to periodically rent their property is an important right to preserve in statute.  There is a growing trend whereby a local government elects to fully ban short-term property rentals as a prohibited commercial activity in a residential zone.  We believe this is wrong-headed and detrimental to both the property owner and the community. 

The practice of vacation or short-term property rental, often for a weekend or at week intervals, allows for the use of a property owner’s fully furnished home on or near a vacation or event destination.  The option is a favorable one among tourists who have embraced such intimate options near their respective destination.  Additionally, Michigan vacation property owners – many of whom reside elsewhere throughout much of the year – have found an opportunity to maximize the value of their property and to aid in the payment of non-homestead property taxes.  In many instances, this ability to rent was an important variable in their decision to purchase property in the first place.  Visitors spend significantly in local communities supporting local events, local jobs, and local economic activity.  Guests from out of town very much support the viability of numerous Michigan events and destinations, along with property values and assessments.

Michigan is relatively new to the debate over prohibiting short-term property rental as communities across Michigan have allowed short-term property rentals to persist absent any direct language within their zoning ordinances for years.  Michigan Realtors® established a Vacation Rental Task Force last year to study the issue given activity in Michigan and other states.  The Task Force supports enacting a statewide prohibition on short-term property rental bans.  It identified a solution where the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act could be amended to consider the periodic rental of one’s property for less than 28-day terms as residential in nature.  The introduced legislation respects a local government’s right to regulate short-term property rentals for nuisances appropriately. 

As discussion continues within the Michigan Legislature before a hearing on the legislation, we are looking for members, property owners, and businesses that have positive experiences as to the value of short-term property rental to share their story.  If you or someone you know would be willing to help us contact a legislator, please let me know.  I’d be happy to work up a draft message and will make sure that it is sent to appropriate elected officials.  Shoot me an email!

We believe the availability of these types of rental arrangements offer a unique benefit and draw for Michigan property owners and sell economic opportunity in communities all over Michigan.  Help us address the cloud of uncertainty that is appearing in the form of varying, poor local government policy preemptively restricting the right of private property owners from renting their property.

Your support of so many of your association advocacy initiatives is greatly appreciated.  Hope to connect with you soon once again.

Doug

July, 2017

From the desk of...

                                 Doug Merriam,

                                 West Michigan Public Policy Director with