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State lawmakers consider removing communities' ability to regulate vacation rentals

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State lawmakers may vote on legislation this week that would strip communities of the ability to regulate vacation rentals.

Weekend and week-long rentals have exploded in popularity in recent years, leading cities and small lakeshore towns to regulate where they are allowed and how many there can be.

Yarrow Brown is with Housing North. It’s a non-profit in northwest lower Michigan.

She says towns need to be able to make rules, otherwise there would be few year-round housing options for residents.

“We really believe this should be a decision that’s made locally because that is where the impact is and it’s different depending on your community," Brown said.

Supporters of the proposed legislation say local governments put too many unnecessary restrictions on short-term rentals.

State representative John Roth is a Republican from Traverse City. He’s a sponsor of the bill.

He says property owners need the income from rental properties to be able to afford their homes.

“Right now they’re not living there yet, they’re not retired yet. In order to pay for these property taxes that we have in the area. We know they’re very high on the water. There’s got to be a right for them to do it," Roth said.

He said under the proposed law local governments would still be able to regulate nuisance issues.

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