Short-Term-Rental ban’s no longer to be allowed

The Michigan House has passed a bill that would remove some restrictions on short-term vacation rentals, allowing more homeowners to operate Airbnbs.

House Bill 4722 passed the House 55-47 during an extended session early Wednesday.

If it is passed by the state Senate and signed by the governor, it would prevent local governments from banning short-term rentals like weekly rentals, Airbnb and VRBO through zoning laws.

“The measure approved by the House is a solid compromise that provides both certainty for private property owners across the state and flexibility for local municipalities that deserve to have some control over the planning and zoning of their communities,” said Rep. Sarah Lightner, the Springport Township Republican who sponsored the bill.

Lightner argued the legislation protected the private property rights of Michigan residents who wanted to rent their property while reining in corporations looking to “scoop up large numbers of homes to rent out, effectively acting as hotels without having to abide by safety standards or pay taxes like hotels.”

The legislation would allow for the continued rental of private residences through such services as Airbnb and VRBO and, in its initial form, it was backed by the Michigan Realtors and the fiscally conservative Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Numerous local government and business groups — including the Michigan Townships Association, Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association, and Michigan Municipal League — urged the Legislature earlier this year not to local control over short-term rentals. Some communities spent months planning and discussing regulations only to have them threatened by the Legislature’s proposal.

Among the opponents of the legislation earlier this year were several Michigan tourist destinations: Frankenmuth, Traverse City, Petoskey, Mackinac Island and Grand Haven.