Even Detroit’s mayor seems baffled how one line in a 216-page zoning packet can ban Airbnb rentals in certain Detroit neighborhoods.
The ban in the city’s amended zoning ordinance went into effect this week, preventing homeowners in zones R1 and R2 from having “paid overnight guests” in homes. That means no Airbnb hosting at homes in those areas, which cover a large swath of the residential part of the city. The language in the amendment seems to imply that apartments, lofts, and building developments are spared from the ban.
The zoning ordinance amendment passed through the city council last year as part of a larger revamp. The planning commission proposed 27 code amendments, including this quick line about prohibited uses of home occupations in R1 and R2 for short-term rentals. But no one really noticed it until now. Not even the mayor, who approved it.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s spokesman said to the Detroit Free Press Thursday that the “administration will be taking some time to study the new ordinance … and its impact.” Seems like something they should have done beforehand? The mayor, who has supported Airbnb in the past, was apparently thrown for a loop on this one. Few comments on the matter have come in from the city council or planning commission in the local press.
Airbnb started hearing from hosts Thursday in the Motor City who received cease and desist letters warning about their home rentals through the home-sharing platform.
In a statement Airbnb said, “We’re very disappointed by this turn of events. Airbnb has served as an economic engine for middle class Detroiters, many of whom rely on the supplemental income to stay in their homes. We hope that the city listens to our host community and permits home sharing in these residential zones.”
Airbhb seems dumbfounded by the ban — especially since Detroit’s mayor had been in an Airbnb video touting the home-sharing service for his city a year ago.
Detroit is an active Airbnb city with 430 hosts. Last year hosts earned $5.2 million throughout the city. Detroit was even one of 12 global cities that Airbnb chose to rollout its new “Experiences” platform.
Not so much anymore.