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Birmingham talks short-term rental properties

By Grace Lovins


Two years after Birmingham city commissioners held a workshop reviewing legislation around short-term rental properties, the discussion resurfaced at the commission meeting on Monday, June 21, with the focus targeted at one property reportedly creating consistent issues.


Back in 2021, both the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives reviewed bills focusing on prohibiting local zoning ordinances that would ban or prevent short-term rentals. City attorney Mary Kucharek said that the legislation would severely limit local control and authority over short-term rentals. At the workshop in 2021, Kucharek noted that short-term rentals are those less than 30 days.


No change in Michigan’s statutory law has happened yet, but Kucharek, along with building official Bruce Johnson ,have spent time looking at the city’s ordinances to see what can be done to mitigate negative impacts to neighbors living around short-term rental properties.


Kucharek said there’s one particular property offering-short term rentals that has caused consistent complaints from neighbors. The property at 1030 Wakefield has been the subject of complaints regarding fireworks, noise and parties.


Although the city has received several complaints from neighbors about the short-term rental property, Kucharek noted that the issues are seen throughout the city regardless of rental status or home ownership, and the city already has rules and regulations in place to address those issues.


“[Kucharek and Johnson] came to the conclusion that all the ordinances we already have on the books are there to protect the neighbors now, and we have all of the enforcement action we need through our building code, property maintenance code, etc.,” Kucharek said.


After reviewing the city’s ordinances, Kucharek stated that no ordinance change is necessary and, if there were a change, it wouldn’t necessarily prevent potential issues from short-term rentals. Reportedly, the occupants at 1030 Wakefield aren’t following the landlord’s rules, and while the city already has rules in place around noise, they can’t create and enforce an ordinance against things like parties.


“The kinds of behavior that are being complained about are those that can be already protected through our ordinances already in place. I don’t think changing our ordinances is the problem here or the key here. I think we need to take a look at this particular property and see what we can do to make things better for the neighbors from nuisances or noise or loud, excessive parties,” she said.


After mentioning that Ferndale recently passed an ordinance on short-term rentals, mayor Therese Longe asked Kucharek to see if they included anything that Birmingham might not have thought of. Kucharek said she’d look at both Ferndale and Ann Arbor’s short-term rental ordinances and bring a report to the commission at a later date.


As the discussion came during the city attorney’s report, no formal action was taken by the commission.

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