Short-term Rental Vote Anticipated in Senate – Action Needed

Posted on November 8, 2021 by Dene Westbrook

House Bill 4722 that passed the state House in the middle of the night on October 27th is seeing intense pressure from proponents to be taken up for a vote in the senate this week. The bill has been referred to the senate committee on regulatory reform. It could be scheduled for a hearing, or the bill could be discharged to the senate floor without committee action. Call you state senator today to voice your opposition.

If your community has taken the time to go through a public process to draft and adopt thoughtful short-term rental regulations, explain to your legislator why this one-size fits all approach will be detrimental to quality of life and exacerbate housing issues your community is already facing. If passed, the ability for 1 in every 3 homes to be turned in to a vacation rental business will be a reality. Municipalities will have no ability to prevent an oversaturation of this particular use in neighborhoods.

If you’re not a destination community facing issues with mini-hotels popping up in your residential areas, you should still be very engaged on this issue. It sets a dangerous precedent for the next special interest group to ask for a statewide zoning preemption. The bill also has farther reaching implications than just short-term rentals…

HB 4722 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”, so while this bill is intended to deal with short-term rentals, it is opening up residential dwellings to any commercial activity as long as the rental is for terms of less than 30 consecutive days. What might a 29-day recurring lease allow in your residential zones that currently isn’t a use by right?

As stated in the bill:

  • It is a residential use of property and permitted use in all residential zones;
  • It is not subject to a special use or conditional use permit;
  • It is not subject to a procedure different from those required for other dwellings in the same zone;
  • It is not a commercial use of property.

Have a local rental inspection program? It would be impacted by this legislation too. HB 4722 states the rental of a dwelling is not subject to a procedure different from those required of other dwellings in the same zone. Will you be inspecting owner-occupied dwellings? The legislation also states if you have a rental inspection regulation, it can not have the effect of prohibiting short-term rentals. Would someone failing an inspection have the effecct of prohibiting that person from having a short-term rental even if temporary?

It is time for those negatively impacted by this bad policy to speak up. Would replacing residential dwellings people call home with places people visit and vacation impact an already struggling housing market? Impact your schools? Impact your local businesses trying to hire workers? Impact your neighborhoods and the quality of life of those living there? Reach out and get these groups who have a stake in housing and neighborhoods involved in opposing this bad policy.

Short-term vacation rentals should not be prohibited in communities, but like any land use they need to be regulated specific to the needs of that community, or not regulated if there’s not a need to. Too much of any one land use will have negative impacts on surrounding areas. HB 4722 allows short-term vacation rental companies to take over neighborhoods. There’s no balance. Voice your opposition today!

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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