Local Government Law Bulletin January 2024 April Y. Li

Ottawa County Circuit Court Judge Granted a Preliminary Injunction Order Against Park Township’s Ban on Short-Term Rental

On December 1, 2023, Judge Jon Hulsing of the Ottawa County Circuit Court granted a preliminary injunction order which temporarily enjoined Park Township from enforcing its ban on short-term rentals.

In November 2022, the Park Township Board of Trustees voted to affirm that short-term rentals were not among the permitted uses in residential areas under its zoning ordinance, and were therefore banned within Park Township. As a result, the owners of existing short-term rentals were required to register with Park Township and all short-term rental uses were required to end by October 1, 2023.  Owners of short-term rentals within the Township created a nonprofit organization named “Park Township Neighbors,” which filed a lawsuit challenging Park Township’s ban on short-term rentals (the “Plaintiff”).

This preliminary injunction order is not permanent, and it temporarily prohibits the enforcement of Park Township’s ban on short-term rentals. However, the grant of preliminary injunction in this case reveals the possibility that the court may decide to overturn Park Township’s ban on short-term rentals.

Although the court has not yet issued an opinion on the merits of the case, once a decision is made regarding whether the ban on short-term rentals is permissible, this issue would likely be brought to the Michigan Court of Appeals, which may issue a binding opinion that could affect municipal treatment of short-term rentals throughout Michigan.

The outcome of this case could affect how local governments regulate short-term rentals.  Past legislative efforts to limit local government control over short-term rentals have not been successful.  In 2021, a bill was passed by the Michigan House of Representatives to limit local governments regulation of short-term rentals (House Bill 4722 of 2021 ).(1)  Although the bill obtained recommendation of approval by the Regulatory Reform Committee, it expired before the end of the legislative session, without being voted upon by the State Senate.  Since then, there has not been any active legislation in Michigan addressing local government regulation of short-term rentals.

Mika Meyers’ municipal attorneys will continue to monitor developments in this case and will provide an update if there are judicial or legislative actions which affect municipal control over short-term rentals.  If you have any questions regarding local government regulation of short-term rentals, please contact a lawyer in our firm’s Local Government Law Practice Group.

(1)Please see a recent article, Legislative Update: Short-Term Rental Bill Expires.

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