NewsKnow the Law


Know the Law – Short Term Rentals

Posted at 9:00 AM, Feb 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-23 09:00:53-05

With the growing popularity of short term rental housing websites like Airbnb and HomeAway, it’s important to understand the laws that apply to this type of accommodation. Tom Sinas, Grand Rapids personal injury attorney, shares more on this week’s Know the Law.

Short Term Rental Housing and Local Ordinances

In recent legislative debate, the Michigan Supreme Court issued a decision that upheld the ability of local ordinances to ban short term rentals. Now, for those looking to rent out their space, check with your local ordinances. If no laws are on the books then the city itself isn’t preventing it. The city of Grand Rapids actually has very restrictive regulations on how and when people can rent their property on a short term rental basis. Some of these regulations include:

• You must have a license
• You can only rent one room
• You must live in the home
• You must own the home
• Limit of approximately 200 licenses per year

Some argue that prevention is a deprivation of rights to property and cities shouldn’t be able to do this. The basic premise is it is legal for local ordinances to ban or set limitations on how short term rentals are handled.

Legislative Debate – Ban on Bans

Ironically, Michigan legislature has been considering a set of laws that would actually prevent cities from banning short term rentals. A ban on bans, so to speak. These laws have not yet passed, but if they do, it will change the legal landscape pertaining to short term rentals.

Insurance for Short Term Rentals

For those considering renting out their spare room for travelers, it is important to keep insurance in mind. Insurance companies only cover what you have disclosed. It is important to disclose all information to your insurance provider to ensure coverage for any liability.

When it comes down to it, it is better to be safe than sorry. Make sure your short term rental is legal and insured. For more information, head to or call 616-310-3333.