A lifelong Detroiter, I’m encouraged by the economic vitality we’re currently experiencing in Detroit and throughout the state. Increased tourism is certainly a factor in our comeback, and the advent of homesharing has helped.
As an Airbnb host, I try to serve as an ambassador for Detroit and my neighborhood. I’ve hosted people from throughout the world who are eager to experience Detroit in an authentic way, and I take pride in guiding them toward small businesses and hidden pocket restaurants that don’t show up on the typical tourist brochures.
I’m thankful Mayor Mike Duggan has been supportive of the sharing economy, but I’m cognizant hosts in other Michigan cities are not as fortunate. I’m concerned that powerful hotel lobbyists from Washington, D.C., and Lansing are working to punish middle-class Michigan residents who are simply sharing their own homes for a few extra bucks. SB 329 and HB 4503 strike a reasonable middle ground — encouraging fair regulations for short-term rentals by prohibiting cities from imposing bans at the behest of the hotels.
Short-term rental properties, such as those listed on Airbnb, can provide a great alternative to mainstream vacation rentals when they follow the rules set by a community and its residents. However, HB 4503 and SB 329 provide one-size-fits-all regulation that will disrupt communities while failing to maintain the safety of short-term rentals. That’s why I take issue with the Oct. 13 editorial (“Keep out welcome mat for homesharing”) supporting these bills.
Renting out a room in a home where the owner lives most of the time is one thing. But with no owner oversight, these rentals often are just party houses for anyone who wants to rent them. They frequently house more people than typical residential homes and put a larger burden on septic systems, trash pick-up, parking, law enforcement and emergency services, and neighbors’ nerves.
Short-term rentals where the owner isn’t present don’t belong in a residential neighborhood. The very nature of the use is different from a long-term rental. These bills would be detrimental to communities across the state.
White Lake Charter Township