Short Term Rentals, "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly"

5 Replies

One day in 1997 when I was pretty new to the business, I wanted to buy a home on an area lake. I knew, the only way I could afford it was to rent it part of the year. Michigan, 4 seasons right? but up north in the U.P. in this beautiful tourist town near Mackinac Island, a very short season for these type rentals. So I bought, and I rented and discovered VRBO in its infancy, I believe I was one of the first 100 ever to register. Yes that dates me for sure. Over the years, I became a broker, branched out, started my own real estate company, became pretty successful, had enough personal rentals to buy software and gloss it up. It's small town, I built a good business, was and am a reputable business owner/ broker and eventually a new branch of property management. Created a position just to manage the rentals. No one at that time was doing it....today, everyone is doing it and many can do it on their own...(I'm truly thankful for that).... Still, I remember another successful broker telling me the best day of his life was when he sold his property management business. Today, I totally confess, he had a valid argument. This morning, a couple calls came in from a few neighbors, some were older clients, a friend of my husband, clients that know and trust me and told me that they don't feel this beautifully restored vintage home that is wedged between theirs and just became a short term rental, should rent short term.....and I couldn't agree more. But hey, it's my clients right to own, zoning doesn't prohibit in this quiet residential neighborhood. The houses are close together. People are on vacation, they are having fun, they aren't thinking about the neighbor who has to get up to work the next morning, or the senior who want's to hear the birds in the morning, not a basketball at 7am or the crew arriving home at midnight. I know this topic is a HOT button and the Mich. Board of Realtors is defending the rights of property owners.... I'm with them! but I'm also with the right to a peaceful existence . I can confidently say most of my weekend enjoyment is compromised by after hour calls with every possible problem that exists to mankind AND I could write a pretty dicey book... I will always preach the investment opportunity that is available to us, I wouldn't be where I am without it.....however, I am more than ever writing my exit plan from it...... (as is my husband, writing it for me) :):) It will surely be on the planning commission agenda to limit these in certain neighborhoods, possibly the law will eventually allow, or not....The hotels and motels hate them, but they are BIG business and bring in a massive amount of money that will go elsewhere if not allowed. ..it's the way many of us expect to travel today..These properties also are taxed at a non-homestead rate so for every rental, the city, village

Northern Michigan Vacation RentalsLeBarbe Blue

or township will collect 40% more in tax base......so there's the good , the bad, and the ugly...  Love to hear your take on this.

Hmmmm. That is a wall of text @Cheryl Schlehuber . As far as what you are saying, I am not sure how to comment. You seem to be riding the fence trying to decide which way to go.

Personally I am all about personal property rights. I am not of the mindset to limit a persons use of their hard won property unless it is a true danger or severe distractions to others.

If you have your very own personal 1950's refrigerator collection on the front lawn, complete with locking doors along with a nice smattering of toilets, well then that classifies as both a danger and nuisance.

Someone who keeps their place nice and rents short term, well, that is not something I would call either dangerous or a true problem.

I get that there can be issues with vacationers. It is important to vet your guest carefully. Weed out the possible problems.

I am also OK with a bit of tax if necessary rather than eliminating STR's all together. There needs to be a good compromise as long as the biggest squeekers are not being unreasonable. I find that the noisiest wheels usually squawk about the littlest things. Some one got home after 9pm last night!! What a travesty! I heard a conversation at 7am this morning!! Unacceptable!!


We have a lake house and it is in a more rural environment and neighbors are not on top of each other. Most of these are 2nd homes or pure VRBO's so hardly any full time occupants. This is a much better scenario that your situation.

I can see both sides and new laws and regulations are being created against STR'S.

Hi John,  yes, we manage other properties that are more in an area of other rental properties or vacation type properties, they are not usually an issue as far as neighbors complaining.  We get pretty good tenants.  You just can't always control who rents. But, someone could rent long term and if it's not a great tenant, neighbors could be stuck with that scenario too and we've seen that happen more than once.  

Michael,  yes, you're right a wall of text for sure.  I am in the middle on this one.   Can see both sides.   The tenants right to rent, the neighbors right to peaceful existence.  I could easily drop this property from our mgmt. because of the foreseen future neighborhood hostility and the owner could rent direct (however, out of state a little more difficult).....the neighbors could end up with a much worse scenario with no onsite manager to put out the fires and try to accommodate all the needs that do arise.  In a small town, finding the right people to coordinate services can be tough at best.   I will continue to work with this situation and see if we can rectify in some way, if not....we do what we need to do while in care of this property and the guests that are lucky enough to use it.  Thanks for your comments. 

I think what he was saying and that is my take, it is hard to follow.  And therefore hard to say much. I honestly did not try to read it after the first sentence.

streams of onsciousness are not what people really want to see on a forum

Originally posted by @Cheryl Schlehuber :

Michael,  yes, you're right a wall of text for sure.  I am in the middle on this one.   Can see both sides.   The tenants right to rent, the neighbors right to peaceful existence.  I could easily drop this property from our mgmt. because of the foreseen future neighborhood hostility and the owner could rent direct (however, out of state a little more difficult).....the neighbors could end up with a much worse scenario with no onsite manager to put out the fires and try to accommodate all the needs that do arise.  In a small town, finding the right people to coordinate services can be tough at best.   I will continue to work with this situation and see if we can rectify in some way, if not....we do what we need to do while in care of this property and the guests that are lucky enough to use it.  Thanks for your comments.