Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Your guide: Short-term transient guest rental regulations from the Michigan Lake to Lake B&B Association

Reposted with Permission

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Inn-Sider News BiteApril 26, 2016
Your guide:
  Short-term transient guest rental regulations 

In the flurry of animated chatter that punctuated the L2L Member Forum over the weekend, one comment struck like a fist. Discussing the negative impact of illegal short-term home sharing on our legitimate B&Bs, Innkeeper Sandy White noted she found 222 "Airbnb" listings for the greater South Haven area and over 300 for Traverse City.

How many of those do you suppose abide by the same laws and regulations you do? How many do you think are leeching your guests and pocketing your proceeds -- without paying a penny of tax on the transaction? 

While many listings in this wildly-popular online directory are for legitimate, licensed lodging properties, simply judging by the number of room-night rentals mysteriously available in South Haven and Traverse City, many are not. These illegal transient guest rentals are compromising their neighborhoods and putting the safety and well being of consumers at risk. But even more, they are putting your livelihoods at risk, as this news story from the New Orleans Times-Picayuneso aptly describes. 

Mike Venturini, treasurer of L2L's Board of Directors and innkeeper at Munro House B&B and Spa, went proactive in his small Southeast Michigan town. He was concerned not with competition, but with UNFAIR competition -- the uneven playing field created when one property gets the special land use permit, the licensing, the inspections and pays the taxes on their business income like a good citizen, and the property down the street does not. Because their expenses are less, they charge less. They undercut you. And that's the rub.

As a private citizen and business owner, Mike sat down with city leaders and discussed the potential for abuse in Jonesville. Weeks of seemingly endless discussion and patience resulted in about half of Mike's "22 good ideas" being implemented in a proposed ordinance scheduled for public hearing and a vote by the city council next month. 

A copy of that proposed ordinance is available to you by clicking here. It's short, sweet and to the point. You'll find in bold print those points added to the city's existing ordinance. They are the points Mike deems critical for you to consider should you decide to sit down with your local lawmakers to put regulations in place to protect your community from illegal home sharing and keep its playing field level. 

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