Like many cities, Detroit is trying to balance the benefits of Airbnb with the pitfalls. Specifically, it wants to make sure that residents can use the platform to supplement their income and reduce their costs of living, while also ensuring that landlords aren’t renting out what would otherwise be long-term housing to tourists visiting for the weekend.
To address this issue, the city passed an ordinance that went into effect yesterday with the following language: “Use of a dwelling to accommodate paid overnight guests is prohibited as a home occupation; notwithstanding this regulation, public accommodations, including bed and breakfast inns outside the R1 and R2 Districts, are permitted…” While this doesn’t apply to apartment buildings or lofts, according to Curbed, it does prevent people living in single or multiple family homes from renting spaces on Airbnb.
What’s especially strange is that the ordinance punishes people leasing extra rooms. Ordinarily, the arguments against Airbnb have to do with the way short term leasing of whole homes puts pressure on available housing stock. There’s also some concern over unruly guests impinging on neighbors. But these concerns have little to do with people renting rooms.
In general the city has been very open to Airbnb. See the below video for context:
This whole things has left residents confused. Some say they have received cease and desist letters for putting their spaces up for rent on Airbnb, according to the Detroit Free Press. The city says that the ordinance is currently under legal review and that the rule isn’t being enforced for now.