Groups Aim for Compromise on Short-Term Rental Legislation
After intense debate in recent years, Holland’s short-term rental pilot program has proven to be less eventful than some city leaders had feared.
Holland’s program, which expires in 2020, allows short-term rentals in all areas of the city. Before the pilot program, Holland only allowed short-term rentals in owner-occupied homes and commercial zones. The pilot program, limited to 25 properties, allows owners of non-owner-occupied homes to rent out their properties on a short-term basis. Currently, 15 properties are participating in the pilot program. The city has received no complaints from neighbors or police calls for these properties, said Tricia Dreier, assistant director of community and neighborhood services for the city.
While the initial pilot program has gone smoothly, Dreier said the city desires to keep local control over the regulation. She added some Holland officials have been in touch with local representatives to voice this concern. “All communities have different needs,” Dreier said. “The city would like to continue to make regulations that are desired by our local community.”
Communities in Michigan and around the country have been grappling with the effects of short-term rentals after websites like Airbnb and VRBO gained popularity in recent years. However, state legislation could upend the rules some local communities have in place regarding short-term rentals.
A bill sponsored by Rep. Jason Sheppard, R-Temperance, seeks to bar local bans on short-term rentals, arguing that they infringe on private property rights and take the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act a step too far.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Rep. Jim Lilly, R-Park Township, has introduced a separate bill package that would make restrictions on short-term rentals. The proposed legislation includes a statewide short-term rental registry and requirements that operators pay the same excise taxes required of hotels. It would exempt homes from regulations if they are rented fewer than 14 days per year. When contacted by MiBiz, a spokesperson for Airbnb declined to comment on the legislation because it is still in its early stages.