News Story

Park Township short-term rental owners win court injunction

Township ban will be paused until case resumes in August 2024

Park Township landlords got a short-term win Dec. 1 when 20th Circuit Court Judge Jon Hulsing issued a preliminary injunction stopping the township from enforcing its ban on short-term rentals.

“The issuance of an injunction is a big deal,” Hulsing said. “It’s a huge deal.”

The ruling took even opponents of the ban by surprise. Jeremy Allen, president of Park Township Neighbors, a nonprofit made up of 120 short-term rental homeowners fighting to prevent the ban, told Michigan Capitol Confidential he teared up when the judge issued the injunction.

CapCon previously reported on Park Township’s ban on all short-term rentals, which the city aimed to begin enforcing Oct. 1. The Dec. 1 ruling means the ban will not be enforceable until the case is brought before Hulsing, which is currently scheduled for August 2024.

The township ordinance was enacted in 1974 but never enforced until this year. Some of the property owners were told by township officials and real estate agents that short-term rentals were legal, Allen said. This was a determining factor for some of the owners when they purchased property. Most people did not know about the 1974 ordinance because it was not enforced for almost 50 years.

Allen said short-term rental owners have asked the township to work with them to craft reasonable regulations and licensing requirements. So far, township trustees have refused, he said. Allen suggested a system of annual licenses, costing up to $500, for short-term rentals. This, he said, would provide enough money to hire a summer enforcement officer to enforce rules the township puts in place.

Howard Fink, Park Township supervisor, stated in an email that the township does not comment on pending cases in court.

Allen said the judge asked the township how many arrests and citations were issued during the 50 years since the original ordinance was enacted. Dan Martin, the township’s attorney, said there have been virtually no citations or arrests.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.