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Lansing Short Term Rental Regulation: A Guide For Airbnb Hosts

Lansing, Michigan

What are short term rental (Airbnb, VRBO) regulations in Lansing, Michigan?

Lansing has basic regulations in place for short term rentals like Airbnb and VRBO. Property owners planning to operate these types of rentals should understand all local requirements. Lansing requires non-owner occupied short term rental properties to register as rentals with the city's Code Enforcement Division. However, owner-occupied single family homes used for short term rentals are exempt.

If renting out a property for over 14 days per year, owners must report rental income and pay appropriate taxes. Lansing aims to balance welcoming visitors through short term rental platforms while avoiding issues that negatively impact neighborhoods.

Contact the Code Enforcement Division regarding registration and the Zoning Administrator with questions about zoning rules for short term rentals. Overall Lansing takes a moderate approach to regulating this emerging lodging sector.

Starting a Short Term Rental Business in Lansing

Launching a lucrative short term rental in Lansing requires strategic planning and preparation. As a first step, thoroughly research all local regulations to ensure full legal compliance. Register your rental property if mandated by the city. Next, optimize your listing on rental platforms like Airbnb and VRBO to attract bookings. Professional photography, detailed descriptions, competitive pricing, and instant booking options are key.

Staging your rental is equally important. Provide a clean, comfortable, and functional space tailored to short term guests. Stock supplies like toiletries, linens, coffee, snacks, wifi, TV streaming accounts, and local guides. Safety features like smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and outdoor lighting also matter.

Smooth operations require addressing licensing, taxes, cleaning, maintenance, and strong communication systems. Build cleaning and maintenance standards that align with guest expectations. Reply quickly to booking inquiries and review guest questions. Lastly, market across multiple platforms through paid ads and social media. Successful hosting takes work, but Lansing's growing tourism makes short term rentals a lucrative opportunity.

Short Term Rental Licensing Requirement in Lansing

In order to legally operate a short term rental in Lansing, you must register your property if you do not reside there yourself. Registration involves submitting an application and paying a $100 fee per rental unit to the city's Code Enforcement Division. Owner-occupied single family homes being rented out are exempt from licensing requirements under Lansing ordinances.

The registration application for non owner-occupied units requires listing details like contact information, number of rental units on site, maximum guest occupancy, number of bedrooms, confirmation that life safety requirements are met, and more. Approval must be granted and the license renewed annually for continued operation.

Failure to properly register a short term rental carries penalties like fines and potential suspension of rental privileges. So be sure to fully understand if your particular rental property requires licensing. The Code Enforcement Division staff can answer questions about registration criteria. Reaching out early when first considering hosting on sites like Airbnb ensures you get off on the right foot in Lansing.

Required Documents for Lansing Short Term Rentals

In order to legally operate a short term rental in Lansing, hosts must register their property if they do not reside on site. Registration involves submitting an application and required documentation to the city's Code Enforcement Division. Necessary paperwork includes contact details such as name, address, phone number, and email, as well as the number and type of rental units available. Hosts operating multiple units on one property need to register each separately.

Additionally, a $100 non-refundable registration fee must be paid per rental unit. The city may request floor plans indicating sleeping areas, occupancy limits, and parking availability. Having these prepared in advance streamlines approval. Fire safety information and insurance paperwork may also be mandatory. Ensure all documentation is complete before listing the unit online or accepting any reservations to avoid violations. Keep records on file for all guests and taxes paid. Communicate openly with authorities to facilitate inspection requests or audits. Adhering properly to registration protocols enables hosts to rent worry-free in Lansing.

Lansing Short Term Rental Taxes

As a short term rental host in Lansing, you must pay taxes on rental income, just as with any business income. Specifically, if you rent out your property for more than 14 days per calendar year, you must report the income and pay appropriate taxes. This applies even if it is your primary residence.

Failure to report rental income could result in fines, penalties, or losing eligibility for the Principal Residence Exemption which provides a significant tax break on your property taxes.

When pricing and budgeting for your Lansing short term rental business, be sure to factor in all applicable federal, state, and local taxes. This includes income tax on net rental profit. You may also need to collect and remit hotel, occupancy, or other taxes levied on transient guests as required by the city. Consult an accountant to ensure you are compliant and not missing any tax obligations. Doing so will avoid any legal issues or surprises at tax time.

Michigan Wide Short Term Rental Rules

There is currently no statewide legislation in Michigan that specifically regulates short-term rentals. Regulation of short-term rental properties is handled at the local level by individual cities, villages, and townships.

Some local municipalities have zoning ordinances and regulations that restrict short-term rentals to certain zones or require registration, licensing, inspection, taxes, and other rules. For example, the city of Lansing requires non-owner occupied short-term rental properties to register as rentals.

Other local governments in Michigan have few or no short-term rental regulations. Enforcement varies as well depending on the priorities and resources of local officials.

There have been attempts to pass statewide bills related to short-term rental regulation in Michigan, but none have become law so far. Most recently, House Bill 4722 aimed to limit local control and allow short-term rentals statewide. It passed the Republican-led Michigan House in 2021 but did not advance from the Senate.

With no statewide framework, short-term rental hosts and guests need to research local ordinances to ensure they comply with rules. The regulatory landscape may continue to shift as communities balance tourism revenue with neighborhood impacts.

Does Lansing Strictly Enforce STR Rules?

Lansing takes a balanced approach to short term rental regulation enforcement. The city aims to welcome visitors while also protecting neighborhoods. Specific issues like noise disturbances or parking problems typically receive the most attention from enforcement. Hosts who follow good neighbor policies and are responsive to any concerns can likely operate successfully.

Overall Lansing does not seem extremely strict compared to other cities. The registration process helps them track rentals. As long as hosts meet requirements, pay taxes, and avoid frequent complaints, enforcement seems relatively light. The city works to enable tourism through short term rentals while preventing them from harming community character or residential life.

How to Start a Short Term Rental Business in Lansing?

First, research all regulations and zoning requirements for short term rentals in Lansing. Determine if you need to register as a rental property and obtain any required permits or licenses.

Next, prepare your property. Stage and photograph it attractively, emphasizing any unique features. Ensure safety equipment like smoke detectors are up to code and stock essentials like towels and linens.

Create listings on major vacation rental platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, and Booking.com. Craft compelling titles and descriptions to stand out. Highlight location and amenities through photos, maps and amenities tags. Set competitive pricing in line with similar rentals.

Once booked, prepare extensive check-in instructions covering access, parking, wifi passwords, and local attractions. Meet the guests on arrival if possible to orient them.

During their stay, check in periodically to ensure all is well. Respond promptly if any issues arise. Seek feedback after checkout to continually improve.

Finally, handle billing, taxes, and financial records appropriately. Invest profits into enhancing your listing through upgrades like new furniture or renovations. Stay updated on regulatory changes.

Who to Contact About Lansing STR Regulations and Zoning

For short term rental regulations and zoning questions, contact the Lansing zoning administrator:

Susan Stachowiak
Zoning Administrator
Department of Economic Development & Planning – Planning Office
316 N. Capitol Ave., Suite D-1 | Lansing, MI 48933
O: 517-483-4085
E: Susan.Stachowiak@lansingmi.gov

What Lansing Hosts on Reddit and BiggerPockets Say About Regulations

Lansing hosts on Reddit and BiggerPockets offer limited discussion of local short term rental regulations, but seem generally aware of rules. Most aim to operate legally, viewing oversight as helpful for avoiding neighbor issues.

One host explained "I registered my rental to comply with city ordinances. The $100 fee was nothing compared to potential fines." Another said "As long as you're upfront with guests about noise rules, it's win-win - happy guests and happy community."

Overall Lansing hosts accept regulation as a cost of business, though some voice concerns that complex rules could limit rental income. The consensus appears to be that Lansing strikes a fair balance between enabling short term rental growth and protecting neighborhoods.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.