By Taralinda Willis
Michigan REALTORS® uses CurateLOCAL to track discussions about short-term rentals throughout the state.
There are many local government decisions that can impact residential real estate agents and private property rights, but one of the hottest topics across the country right now is short-term rental regulation. Many homeowners are using Airbnb and other home-sharing platforms to cover the cost of mortgages and property taxes, and some entrepreneurs have built entire businesses out of investing in homes and renting them through Airbnb.
Many states and local governments are currently engaged in the short-term rental discussion, and private property rights advocates and supporters of short-term rental arrangements are keeping a close eye on those local policy discussions. Government affairs directors at REALTORS® associations around the country are using local ordinance tracking tools to quickly identify when and where those discussions are occurring. Government relations tools like Curate allow advocates to get involved in local policy issues proactively rather than reactively.
A 2017 study on the responses of cities in the U.S. and Europe to Airbnb’s growth found that most cities are relatively lenient towards Airbnb and its competitors. When they do place restrictions, they tend to limit the number of guests, nights and times a property can be rented, demand certain safety precautions and information provision, or require the person listing the home to reside there most of the year. These restrictions aim to mitigate some of the potential negative impacts that short-term rentals can have on neighborhoods, such as excessive noise, parking shortages, and reduced housing availability and affordability.
One of the goals of REALTORS® associations across the country is to increase member involvement in the political process and to work to protect private property rights. To do this, they need to keep a close eye on legislative discussions and regulations at both the state and local level. Many associations cover large geographical areas, or, like the Michigan REALTORS®, they cover an entire state, working cooperatively with various local REALTORS® associations, so they need to pay attention to several hundred communities.
This past year, Michigan REALTORS® used CurateLOCAL to identify over 15 (and growing) short-term rental ordinance proposals around the state. These proposals ranged from lakeshore communities seeking to implement a regulatory structure for short-term rentals, larger metropolitan areas seeing to place a cap on licenses, all the way to total short term rental bans based on the theory of commercial activity in a residential zone. In every instance, the association and its local counterparts were able to engage in the conversation in a meaningful way, instead of playing defense on ordinances that have already been passed or nearly finalized.
Michigan REALTORS® sees significant value in tracking discussions about short-term rentals throughout the state using CurateLOCAL. Identifying and combating proposals that could have a negative impact on private property rights fits in with Michigan REALTORS’® core mission. The foreknowledge through CurateLOCAL provides for better preparation and advocacy, ensuring that talking points, position papers, and an organized grassroots base are ready to be presented at each respective local meeting.
Read our white paper to learn more about what critical issues you could be tracking at the local government level with CurateLOCAL.