The City of New Buffalo, Michigan, violated property owners' constitutional rights when it required permits to rent their homes on a short-term basis and then ultimately banned the rentals outright, homeowners argued on Oct. 26 at the Sixth Circuit. The attorney representing 26 homeowners who purchased properties in New Buffalo for the explicit purpose of renovating and renting them to vacationers told the court that the city "tried to destroy [plaintiffs'] non-conforming use property rights" when it passed a zoning law to prohibit short-term rentals. The property owners filed a federal lawsuit against the city for due process violations and unconstitutional takings but a federal judge dismissed the majority of the claims in October 2022. Chief U.S. District Judge Hala Jarbou disagreed with the owners' assertion that short-term rentals were permissible before the city's passage of the ordinances at issue in the case and ruled they had no protected property interest in a non-conforming use. The owners disputed Jarbou's assessment in their brief to the Sixth Circuit and pointed out New Buffalo issued at least 93 short-term rental permits under its previous zoning laws and that its city attorney admitted zoning laws allowed for such rentals.
Courthouse News Service (10/26/23) Kevin Koeninger