East Lansing opposes bills that would restrict bans on Airbnbs and other short-term rentals

EAST LANSING, Michigan – Two bills passed by the State House and Senate would prevent local governments from banning short-term rentals like those rented through Airbnb or VRBO.

East Lansing officials strongly oppose it.

City of East Lansing, 2021.

East Lansing has 21 overlapping districts, each with different rental property rules.

East Lansing has 21 stacked districts, each with different rules for rental properties, including short-term rentals and vacation rentals.

“Basically what these bills are trying to do is take a unique approach to short-term rentals in the state of Michigan,” East Lansing Mayor Aaron Stephens said.

East Lansing has 21 stacked districts, each with different rules for rental properties, including short-term rentals and vacation rentals.

If either Bill 4722 or Senate Bill 446 were passed, the short-term rental rules would become the same in every district and East Lansing would have to allow them.

Stephens said these bills put all cities in the same boat.

“We face our own rental challenges,” Stephens said. “East Lansing is different from Traverse City, it’s different from Detroit, isn’t it? So we have to deal with the issues differently.”

The bills define short-term rentals as accommodation that is available for up to 30 days. Stephens, said that with the ease of renting these properties, he was concerned that they would turn into month-to-month leases, effectively allowing rental properties where the city does not currently allow them.

Stephens said that with the ease of renting these properties, he was concerned that they would turn into month-to-month leases.

“In a situation like this, you could walk into Airbnb and you could say, ‘Okay, I’m renting this house for 30 days and you can just, you know, take back your 30 days,’ Stephens said. It’s a monthly lease and you don’t have to re-inspect. You don’t need to get a permit with the city.

Stephens said allowing landlords to bypass important steps in the rental process, such as inspections, could be dangerous.

“We have older houses in the city,” he said. “People who are renting in the area, we want to make sure these houses are safe for people there, so we do regular inspections. Another city might not necessarily need to do that because it does not have the influx of rental properties.

There were 50 active short-term rentals in East Lansing during the first quarter of 2021, according to data from the airdna.co website.

Stephens said if these bills pass, everyone in the surrounding neighborhoods could be affected.

With more, Stephens fears property values ​​will skyrocket, benefiting a few homeowners but making the city less affordable for everyone.

Property values ​​could also skyrocket according to Stephens, making rent almost unaffordable.

“When you introduce a market where you can still Airbnb your property, you know you’re going to see those prices go up and it’s going to be a lot harder for people to move in and live in the city,” Stephens said.

Stephens said it might be beneficial for a few people, but not for most.

State lawmakers who introduced the bills did not respond to requests for comment.

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