(Michigan City, IN) - Short term rentals in Michigan City will have to be registered under an ordinance adopted by the city council on June 1. The 5 to 4 vote was in response to complaints about loud noise from parties at homes converted into places of lodging during the summer.
Under the measure, short term rental owners have to register their properties at the police
department. There is no cost to register and no fines. Originally, the proposed cost to register was $150 and fines could be levied for violations such as loud noise and litter. The penalties were removed after the measure first presented April 20 was further discussed by members of the city council.
City Councilman Don Pryzbylinski said the ordinance was not needed right now because the police responded to just three loud noise complaints last year near the lakefront where short term rentals are heaviest. He suggested taking action next year if loud noise complaints in the coming months skyrocket. Pryzbylinski said law enforcement has more pressing issues than investigating a loud noise complaint. “Last year, we had eight murders in Michigan City. This year, we’ve had I believe two. Shooting are on the way up. I think the police department has better things to deal with than to worry about if an Airbnb is registered,” he said.
Councilman Bryant Dabney said not all of the complaints are documented because some people are afraid of calling the police about loud noise out of fear of retaliation. He also said short term rentals should be regulated because they’re operated as commercial establishments. “These are businesses. They’re turning homes into hotels,” Dabney said.
Dabney also said the city council was not doing anything that hasn’t already been at the state level of government which has requirements in the books for short term rentals. “Sometimes it takes a legislative body to do some things just to have peace in the neighborhood. That is what this is all about,” he said.