House Bill 4046 is on the agenda of the House Local Government and Municipal Finance Committee at 12:00 pm on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. This legislation, backed by the Michigan Realtors, is an amendment to the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act preempting local government from regulating rentals of less than 28 days. Alternative language will be offered, and is anticipated to be adopted, but the H-1 sub language does nothing to address the concerns the League and other stakeholder groups have raised.
The creation of this new statewide zoning requirement would eliminate a local unit of government’s ability to regulate anything dealing with non-owner occupied residences unless those regulations are applied on an equal basis to all owner-occupied residences.
The bill language declares that for the purposes of zoning, the rental of a dwelling, including, but not limited to, short-term rentals:
- Is a residential use of property and a permitted use in all residential zones.
- Is not subject to a special use or conditional use permit, or any procedure different from those required for other dwellings in the same zone.
- Is not a commercial use of property.
The bill defines a short-term rental as a rental for the term of less than 28 days at a time, and further states that any regulations regarding noise, advertising, traffic, occupancy limits, inspections and inspection fees are only allowed if the regulations are applied on a consistent basis to rental and owner-occupied residences.
This legislation would allow property owners to create future rental leases, or amend existing leases, to be a reoccurring 27 day (or less) contract. Rental properties would no longer have to abide by any local regulations (inspections, business licensing, overlay zone requirements, etc.) unless those rules are required on all owner-occupied residential property too. This stipulation would apply regardless of a property being used as a short-term vacation rental or not.
House Bill 4046 puts in place a preemption upsetting the delicate balance between property rights and the established, transparent process for local decision-making. The Michigan Zoning Enabling Act lays out the process for local government to draft regulations driven by public input through an open process. House Bill 4046 undermines that process and removes the voice of local citizens, rendering local government powerless to respond and act.
The League believes local governments are best positioned to know the unique needs of a community when discussing zoning issues. The elected decision makers closest to the people are the most appropriate to determine if something needs to be acted upon to maintain the delicate balance between residential and commercial uses, between residents and investment property owners, and to protect the health safety and welfare of residents, renters and vacation visitors.
The League is opposed to this attack on local democracy! We urge you to share your concerns and how this legislation affects your community with members of the House Local Government and Municipal Finance committee this Wednesday. The hearing is scheduled for noon in Room 521 of the Anderson House Office Building located at 124 N. Capitol Ave, Lansing, MI 48933.
If you’re unable to attend in person, email committee members (email addresses below) and make sure to copy the committee clerk (email address below) asking for your comments to be entered in to the official committee record. You should also copy your local Representative (if they’re not on the committee) and your state Senator.
House Local Government and Municipal Finance committee members:
[email protected] (Committee Chair)
Committee Clerk: [email protected]
Share this information with your colleagues and other interested stakeholders. We hope to see you in Lansing on Wednesday! Questions can be directed to j[email protected].
Jennifer Rigterink is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues. She can be reached at [email protected] or 517-908-0305.