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  • Kevin Elliott

Township addresses Air BnB, short-term rentals

Airbnb and short-term rental agreements less than 30 days where the property owner isn't on premises are expressly prohibited under an ordinance finalized on Monday, January 14, by the Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees.

Airbnb is a privately held global company that operates an online marketplace and hospitality service which is accessible via its websites and mobile apps, where people often stay in members' homes rather than hotels.

Bloomfield Township Planning, Building and Ordinance Director Patti Voelker said the township hadn't had any provisions related to short-term rentals that have been popularized by Airbnb and other businesses connecting property owners with people looking for vacation rentals or short-term stays. She said the township in May and June 2018 heard concerns and complaints from a homeowners association about such rentals.

"That lead us to looking at the language or a more formalized way of looking at the ordinance," she said. "They have been in effect for over 10 years, but they have become more popular recently, and we have been hearing some of the concerns that residents were having."

Trustees in December 2018, approved the first reading and introduction of an ordinance to distinguish between rental and short-term rental of dwellings. The ordinance passed unanimously on January 14, following a brief discussion in which Voelker confirmed to trustee Michael Schostak that the township does not require or maintain registrations for long-term rental homes.

She also answered a question about how the ordinance, which does not include a fee schedule, would be enforced. “When there is a complaint, we act on the complaint,” Voelker said.

Township Supervisor Leo Savoie said the ordinance sets a balance to allow what people would like to do with their property and what is good for the neighborhood.

Under the new ordinance, rentals less than 30 days are considered a commercial use and only permitted if the property owner is on the premises during course of the rental. Short-term rentals without an owner present are prohibited. Group homes and adult foster care facilities, which are regulated by the state, are excluded from the ordinance.

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