Markkanen and Damoose: No Local Control When It Comes to Regulating Airbnb

LANSING — The Michigan House of Representatives voted last month to bar local communities from regulating short-term rentals including San Francisco-based Airbnb. The bill was pushed by the lobbyist arm of the Michigan Realtors.

House Bill 4722 would strip local control from cities, villages and townships. Many critics of the bill will make the housing shortage crisis worse – especially in tourist towns. Because of this, many Representatives who represent tourist areas voted against the legislation.

John Damoose, a first-term Representative from Harbor Springs, however, voted for the bill despite much of his district being a tourist destination. As a matter of fact, because of his vote, Mackinaw City will no longer be able to enforce its ordinance that supporters say protects neighborhoods in the very busy tourist town. Damoose was endorsed by MPAC, the PAC backed the Michigan Realtors. Damoose has taken money from the Realtors PAC with the PAC donating to his campaign in June of 2020.

Representative Greg Markkanen also voted to bar local communities in his district from deciding how to operate and instead gave Lansing politicians total power of local housing decisions in communities such as Houghton, Iron Mountain and Watersmeet. This could lead to a housing crisis as more tourists continue to visit the Upper Peninsula. Markkanen also received the endorsement and a $2,400 contribution from Michigan Realtors PAC.

Opposing the bill, Michigan Municipal League CEO and executive director, Dan Gilmartin stated, “This calamity is entirely avoidable. This bill will pour lighter fluid on an already red-hot housing market should it become law, making it even harder for families to put roof over their heads.”

The bill now waits for action in the State Senate.

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