Michigan Townships Association

MML, MTA and MI Planning Association issue joint release in response to rushed passage of short-term rental legislation

LANSING – The House Commerce and Tourism Committee approved legislation today that would significantly limit how local communities regulate commercial short-term rental properties in residential neighborhoods across the state. A last-minute substitute to House Bill 4722 was given to stakeholders minutes before the committee meeting started and was swiftly passed without having time to review the new bill.

The Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Townships Association (MTA), and Michigan Association of Planning (MAP) all issued statements expressing their strong opposition to today’s actions.

“We are extremely disappointed that a substitute bill given to us minutes before committee began was passed without allowing stakeholders time to review it and provide input. The changes made to the bill do nothing to address the very serious concerns local leaders across the state have made clear: a top-down, one-size-fits-all policy for short-term rentals ignores the unique needs of our individual communities and is wrong for Michigan,” said Dan Gilmartin, Michigan Municipal League CEO and Executive Director.  “We believe short-term rentals have an important place in Michigan’s tourism economy, but citizens who put down their life savings to buy a home in one of our great Michigan neighborhoods deserve the right to quietly enjoy their residence too. This legislation is a heavy handed anything goes mandate, and we think that is wrong. We are simply asking for local communities to decide what works best for them so that they can balance the needs of permanent residents and vacationers.”

“Residents turn to their local officials to help address issues and problems in their own backyard,” said Neil Sheridan, MTA executive director. “We recognize—and welcome—the value that tourism brings to communities. But locally elected officials, representing their residents, must continue to have zoning authority over the number and location of short-term rentals—often commercial ventures that can change the very character and fabric of neighborhoods—in their jurisdiction. Local officials know their communities best, and they must retain local decision-making that balances the rights and interests of residents, property owners and visitors.”

“While the Michigan Association of Planning recognizes the economic value that short-term rentals can bring to a community, prohibiting municipal government from regulating these uses—which can have serious negative impacts on the quality of life of community residents—is shortsighted and harmful,” said Michigan Association of Planners Executive Director Andrea Brown. “Local government SHOULD be able to manage the deleterious impacts on surrounding properties in a way that applies reasonable regulations that both allow for STRs AND protect the rights of local property owners, too.”