Short-Term Rental Registration


This is per the Short-Term Rental Ordinance (Code of Ordinances No. 1026) adopted by the City Council on July 16, 2016 and amended Ordinance (Code of Ordinances No. 1044) adopted by the City Council on July 16, 2018.

What is a short-term rental?
  • An entire home rented for at least two nights to at most 29 nights.
What is not a short-term rental?
  • Hotels
  • Resorts
  • Bed & Breakfasts
  • Rooms rented in homes (not permitted in South Haven)
How do I register my Short-Term Rental?
Fees:  New Rentals never registered under the STR Program will cost $250
           (all new rentals will be inspected for compliance prior to approval of STR Certificate)
           Condominiums until September 1, 2018 are $20.00, and after September 1st, are $250
           (after September1st, all new condominiums will also be inspected for compliance prior to STR approval)
           Yearly renewal will be $200 for all registered STR dwelling units.

  • Obtain the City issued Short-Term Rental Registration Certificate with the Zoning Administrator's signature and post it in a  prominent first-floor window facing the street.  
  • Provide renters with the Good Neighbor Guide provided to you with your Certificate.
What is the purpose of a Local Agent?
  • Someone located within 45 miles from your short-term rental home.  This person or company will be contacted by concerned neighbors or by emergency personnel if there is an issue at your property while renters are there.
How is the maximum renter occupancy determined?
  • Newly rented, newly constructed or newly renovated houses: 12 people (over 2 years of age) OR 2 people per bedroom plus 2 people per occupied finished floor,  whichever is less.  Example:  3 bedrooms and 2 floors = 6 + 4 = 10 people.  
  • Previously rented for at least 15 days in 2015 or a previous year:  16 people (over 2 years of age) OR 2 people per bedroom plus 2 people per floor, whichever is less.  Example:  4 bedrooms and 2 floors = 8 + 4 = 12 people.
  • To qualify as a finished occupied floor, basement and attic bedrooms are required to have egress windows in each bedroom per Michigan building code. 
What should I know about renting my home?
  • The rental registration certificate or a notice in 16 point type* including all the information required on the rental certificate must be posted in a prominent first-floor window.
  • The address of the dwelling unit must be clearly marked outside the house, in the kitchen and near the pool area if applicable.
  • No fireworks shall be used on the premises of a dwelling unit when it is occupied by anyone other than the owner.
  • Egress windows, doors, and stairs must meet Michigan Residential Code standards.
  • Outdoor, kitchen and bathroom outlets must be connected to a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) device: Circuit panels must be properly labeled.
  • Smoke alarms must be located in each bedroom and carbon monoxide detectors located on each floor.  They must be maintained at least every 90 days.
  • Ordinance violations on three separate occasions result in fines of $100, $500, and $1,500.
  • A third violation will result in a notice to appear at a hearing and potential revocation of the rental certificate.
  • Changes in occupancy, agent, owner, or contact information must be updated with the Building Services Department: (269) 637-0789.
How could I lose my Short-Term Rental Registration?
Three incidents occurring with three different rental groups per year that are violations of the following:
  • Short-Term Rental Ordinance
  • Chapter 30, Article II of the City Code - Noise
  • Chapter 30, Article III of the City Code - Controlled Substances
  • Chapter 30, Article IV of the City Code - Unwholesome Substances 
  • Chapter 54, Article V of the City Code - Offenses Against Public Peace
  • Chapter 70, Article II of the City Code - Solid Waste
  • Any violation of the Zoning Ordinance or any permit or approval issued pursuant to the Zoning Ordinance.
The City tracks all incidents and will contact the Property Owner and Local Agent to appeal the decision at a Hearing.

What should I do if I have a Short-Term Rental Complaint?
The best way to make a complaint is as an incident occurs.

Since these are generally after business hours, your best option is to call the non-emergency police number at (269) 637-5151.  The Police and Fire Departments report all incidents to the Building Services Department.

The house is being rented, but a Certificate  or appropriate notice is not in the window.  The City needs proof that the house is being rented and that the guests are not family members.  With this proof, the Building Services Department will contact the Local Agent and Property Owner to remind them to place the Certificate in the window.

The Certificate is in a second-floor window.  Please take a picture from public property and email it to the Zoning Administrator.

*There is a piece of paper in the window, but it isn't the Certificate.  The Short-Term Rental Ordinance currently states a notice (not the Certificate) shall be posted in a prominent first-floor window of any dwelling unit used for short-term rentals stating (in at least 16-point type) the name of the local agent, a 24-hour telephone number with which the agent can be reached, and the maximum occupancy of the dwelling unit as permitted by the ordinance.  Therefore, the Certificate is not legally required at this time.

There are more occupants in the house than stated on the Certificate.  Call the non-emergency police number (269) 637-5151 after 11:00pm and before 7:00am if you believe there are more occupants than listed on the Certificate.  They will not be able to enter the rental house unless they have a warrant, but if there is a noise or parking concern, they can knock on the door to ask questions and attempt to ascertain the occupancy.

Smoke is coming into my home from their fire-pit.  Call the non-emergency police number at (269) 637-5151. The fire department will come out and assess if the smoke is coming into your house or not.

The renters are being too loud.  Call the non-emergency police number at (269) 637-5151 and state you are a neighbor and renters are being too loud.  Provide the address and they will come out to investigate.

Please do not make false complaints.  The police and fire departments will record unsubstantiated complaints and will provide that information to the Building Services Department.