Niles Charter Township approves short-term rental ordinance

Published 1:10 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2023

NILES CHARTER TOWNSHIP — There are new rules for short term rentals in Niles Charter Township.

The NCT Board of Trustees unanimously approved an ordinance Monday night establishing regulations for short-term rental properties within the township limits. Officials say the ordinance was put in place to help hold property owners accountable and protect residential areas while also boosting tourism in the township.

“I think it’s something that is needed,” said Trustee Richard Cooper, who also serves on the planning commission. “I think that the planning commission has worked diligently on getting this done on it and I think it will be an asset to the community.”

According to the ordinance language, a short term rental is defined as the rental or subletting of a single-family dwelling for compensation for not more than one month at a time. Transitional houses operated by a charitable organization, group homes such as nursing homes and adult foster care homes, substance-abuse rehabilitation clinics, mental-health facilities, and other similar health-care related facilities will not be considered short-term rentals.

STRs will only be permitted in single-family homes in the township. STR property owners must apply for a zoning compliance permit on an annual basis before advertising a STR for rent or operating a STR. The property owner must pay an annual fee to be determined by the board.

For the board, the approval of a STR ordinance was a moment months in the making. The ordinance states that its purpose is to strike an appropriate balance between the interests of community residents, community business owners, visitors to the community and real property owners wishing to engage in short- term rental of single-family dwellings. 

While visitors to the community bring many benefits by renting single-family dwellings on a short-term basis to attend events such as Notre Dame football games, visiting friends and family members and more, the board believes STRs can simultaneously create concerns surrounding issues of traffic, parking, congestion, litter, noise, and other similar issues. Meanwhile, issues related to fire safety and life safety codes must be considered in order to maximize the safety and well-being of all in the community.

“Basically there are people that are doing what we made the ordinance up to. That was the primary reason. We need to have an ordinance. So everybody is in line with everything.”

For any questions regarding zoning ordinances, contact Denise Kasprzak at (269) 684-0870, ext. 20.