Hearings for Short Term Vacation Rental Preemption Bills in Both House & Senate Tuesday

Posted on May 17, 2021 by Jennifer Rigterink

The House Commerce and Tourism Committee has posted for tomorrow morning, Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at 9:00 AM to hear testimony on House Bill 4722 in Room 327 of the House Office Building.

The Senate Regulatory Reform Committee has posted for tomorrow afternoon, Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at 3:00 PM to hear testimony on Senate Bill 446 in the Harry T. Gast Appropriations Room, 3rd Floor of the Capital Building. Please consider using the League’s Action Center (click here) to send letters opposed to this legislation in the House and Senate.

The two bills mirror each other in language. The legislation as written, states:

“For the purposes of zoning, all of the following apply to the rental of a dwelling, including, but not limited to, short-term rental: (a) It is a residential use of property and a permitted use in all residential zones. (b) 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. (c) It is not a commercial use of property.”

The bill goes on to say it “does not prohibit regulation applied on a consistent basis to rental and owner-occupied residences” for inspections. Does your municipality inspect owner-occupied residences?? If no, then you wouldn’t be able to inspect a short-term rental because that wouldn’t be a consistent application of your regulation for both rental and owner-occupied residences.

If you have a local rental inspection program, this legislation puts it in jeopardy. A lease could be modified for terms of not more than 30 consecutive days and will now be defined as a short term rental.

If your municipality is currently regulating short term rentals, your regulations will be null and void under this legislation.

If your community is facing a lack of housing supply and affordability issues, this legislation will only exacerbate that crisis.

You can support private property rights and still oppose this legislation. The bill as written only favors the rights of owners who want to use their property for short term vacation rentals. What about the property owner who purchased their forever home because it was a nice quiet residential area at the time, and now have to live with a revolving door of vacationers constantly coming and going?!

We need you to contact the committee members to voice opposition to this all out attack on local decision-making. Local government is best positioned to know the unique needs of their 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.

Please reach out to both committees, as both bills have committee hearings and each chamber needs to hear our opposition.  Make sure to include the committee clerks on all messages, and if you’d like to provide written testimony for the hearing. State you’d like your correspondence included in the official committee record. This is an important step!

House Commerce & Tourism Committee:

Senate Regulatory Reform Committee:

* sponsor of the legislation

** cosponsor of the legislation

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.

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