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Please Contact These State Senators Right Now to Oppose Short-Term Rental Bill SB 446

Posted on May 18, 2021 by Dene Westbrook

We need your help right now. Please contact members of the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee committee before their hearing at 3 p.m. TODAY on a short-term vacation rental bill (Senate Bill 446). We appreciate those of you who contacted State Representatives but now all the focus is on this Senate committee.

Please also consider using the League’s Action Center (click here) to send letters opposed to this legislation in the House and Senate. Even if you’ve already sent a letter, please send another one using our Action Center because we’ve updated the recipients of the letter to include the Senate committee members.

There are two bills (one in the House and this one in the Senate) that 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 Senate 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.

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!

Senate Regulatory Reform Committee:

* sponsor of the legislation

The League’s Jennifer Rigterink is your main point of contact on this issue. Jen is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at jrigterink@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

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