With about 150 million users, Airbnb is taking short term rentals by storm. The ability to stay in someone’s home offers a unique way to feel like a local when traveling as well as an alternative to hotels. However, this type of accommodation raises some legal questions and Grand Rapids personal injury attorney, Tom Sinas, recently appeared on Fox 17 Know the Law to explain more.
Short Term Rentals Up for Debate
In Michigan, local ordinances are allowed to determine whether short term rentals are allowable within city limits or not. While some cities in Northern Michigan, one of the state’s most popular destinations, ban short term rentals, whereas many others, such as Grand Rapids, allow it. Some argue that this is an infringement on one’s rights to their own property. However, in October 2018, the Michigan Supreme Court published a decision that upheld the right of local ordinances to allow or restrict short term rentals. In short, landlords need to check with their local ordinances to see what is allowable and what isn’t.
Grand Rapids-Specific Regulations
While the city of Grand Rapids allows short term rentals, they are subject to regulations. To list your home as a short term rental within city limits, the landlord must:
- Hold a license to rent out rooms – the city only allows approximately 200 a year
- Only rent one and limit visitors to two people at a time
- Live on and own the property up for rent
Check out Tom’s full Know the Law segment:
Insurance Coverage is a Must
Homeowners and landlord insurance policies are designed for very specific purposes. Oftentimes, claims coming from short term rentals aren’t covered under these policies. So, before renting out that spare bedroom, check with your insurance provider to see if your policy even allows it. Also, many third-party renting services, such as Airbnb, offer special insurance coverage. “Host protection insurance” protects the homeowner, though it is important to research all aspects of coverage when renting out the spare space.
The bottom line when it comes to short term rentals, make sure it’s legal and insured.