Unexpected 'Airbnb Ban' in Detroit's Residential Neighborhoods Causes a Stir

Somehow the city of Detroit managed to start enforcing an Airbnb ban in single-family neighborhoods without anyone realize the council had approved the regulation.
February 12, 2018, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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J Dennis

Detroit had a sudden onset of controversy this week when the city began notifying Airbnb hosts that the city had outlawed Airbnb for R1 and R2 zoning.

"The new zoning ordinance apparently went through the Planning Commission and City Council in 2017, and went into effect this week," reported Robin Runyon on February 8.

By February 9, the city was walking back the Airbnb ban, "saying that the new ordinance is under legal review and they won’t be enforcing it at this time." Runyon has updated the article to reflect the evolution of the story.

In a separate article published on February 9, after the controversy had erupted, Katrease Stafford reported that the city announced it wouldn't immediately enforce the ban. "Instead, the city has asked its law department to review the new zoning ordinance amendment, which impacts properties zoned R1 and R2," according to Stafford.

As for the main cause of the confusion and controversy, the "ban sparked confusion among some homeowners who said they rent out rooms in their home through Airbnb." David Bell, director of the Buildings, Safety Engineering & Environmental Department (BSEED), put out a statement on February 9 explaining that he didn't believe that the ordinance was intended to prevent homeowners from renting out rooms.

For more coverage of the controversy and the response from the city, see also an article by Tom Perkins.

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Published on Friday, February 9, 2018 in Curbed Detroit
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