A new local law regulating hotels, motels, and tourist homes in the city goes into effect today, and city staff are preparing for a year-long implementation process.
The City Commission adopted the ordinance at their regular meeting on Oct. 6.
Affected property owners now must submit a registration application and fees – they have 120 days to do this – and the city will conduct property maintenance code inspections between November 2020 and March 2021. Nuisance activity regulations also go into effect immediately.
The city knows we have neighbors who live in hotels and motels, for a variety of reasons, and appreciate those who have spoken up and shared their stories during this process.
The city will grant a one-year grace period for longer-term occupancy, and allows a facility to rent a room or unit for more than 28 days, within a 90-day consecutive period, without the requirement of a kitchenette. By Nov. 1 of next year, longer-term occupancy must meet minimum residency code requirements, with amenities including a kitchenette.
The grace period will allow:
- Hotel/motel owners to invest in updating their unit amenities to meet minimum code requirements for residency, and safe longer-term occupancy
- Data collection, to assess how many individuals and families occupy hotels and motels as their primary residence
- Continue discussions with residential landlords about their willingness to lease to “second chance” renters, who may have experienced evictions, or other challenges that can cause housing difficulties
- Continue efforts to pursue more affordable housing options in Battle Creek
- Allow additional time for current long-term stay occupants to secure alternative, permanent residential housing
Staff now are preparing communications for our local social service agencies, as well as hotel and motel owners, which we hope will help us reach those who are living in these businesses long-term. Staff recognize there may be other ideas and opportunities, which they will brainstorm with community partners as this process continues.
With this local law in place, the city can better ensure that local hotels, motels, and tourist homes meet minimum housing standards, and that all guests have a safe and pleasant experience in Battle Creek. The State of Michigan currently provides little regulatory oversight over these facilities that offer overnight stays.