by Jennifer Rigterink of the Michigan Municipal League

While most people were sleeping (at 2AM!) the state House passed House Bill 4722(H-11) by a vote of 55-48.

The legislation states a short-term rental is a residential use of property and a permitted use in all residential zones. It is not subject to a special use or conditional use permit or procedure different from those required for other dwellings in the same zone. It is not a commercial use of property.

The bill allows a local unit of government to limit the number of units under common ownership used for short-term renting, but the limit set can not be more than 2 units. While this may appear to allow municipalities to protect neighborhoods from an oversaturation of short-term rentals, it only allows you to limit no more than two UNITS being used for short-term rentals. It does not include all dwelling types as listed under the definition of short-term rental. The definition states “the rental of a single-family residence, a dwelling unit in a 1- to 4- family house, or any unit or group of units in a condominium, for terms of not more than 30 consecutive days“.
Additionally, the definition of common ownership is an issue, “ownership in whole or in part by the same individual, individuals, or legal entity“. With minimal tweaking of ownership structures, someone would be able to have an unlimited number of short-term rental units in your community. Again, not helpful.

The bill also states a local unit of government may limit the total number of units used for short-term rentals, but the limit has to be set at 30% (or higher) of the number of existing residential units in the community and the percentage shall be applied without regard to the location. This language would allow for approximately 1 in every 3 homes to be a short-term rental, and it does not give municipalities the ability to spread those short-term rentals throughout the community. Neighborhoods could be overrun with vacation rental properties. Explain to your legislators how this provision will be administered and enforced at the local level. Ask your municipal attorney if a property right can be given to 30% of the people, but witheld from the remaining 70%? This provision is ripe for litigation.

There is also a carve out in the bill for a local unit of government that, as of July 11, 2019, had zoning ordinance provisions that regulate the rental of dwellings by overlay district without distinction between short-term and rental for longer terms, the ability to continute to enforce those zoning ordinance provisions. If your Representative voted for this bill, does this carve out actually help your community, or did they vote to give one community the ability to continue to regulate the way they are now, but not you?

It is time to talk to your Senator, so they have a full understanding of what the House has sent them for consideration in HB 4722.

This article was posted on the MML Legislative Blog page, read the full article here.
Remove bird feeders while black bears prepare for hibernation
November Newsletter (Early Edition)