Airbnb Was Just Quietly Banned In Detroit. Is It A Setback For the Detroit Rennaisance?
The City of Detroit has stealthily enacted a new zoning ordinance that would ban Airbnb in Detroit. Many Airbnb hosts have received notices that the city has outlawed home sharing for R1 and R2 zoning.
The vast majority of home sharing units in Detroit are in R1 and R2 districts. These do not include places like lofts, apartments, or larger developments.
2017 Airbnb data shows the home-sharing company has played an important role in reviving Detroit’s economy. The company is also proud of its success in Detroit:
- 430 active hosts
- 50% simply share an extra, unused room
- Welcomed 47,000 guests to Detroit in 2017
- Hosts earned $5.2 million in income in 2017
- Typical Detroit host earns $6,600 annually through home sharing
Chase L. Cantrell of Building Community Value alerted many to the new ordinance. Cantrell’s company teaches people about small-scale redevelopment in the city.
He also says that many of the people who go through their course turn their properties into Airbnb rentals. This allows visitors to stay in the city’s neighborhoods.
What concerns me most about this zoning change is that so few people knew about it. Our city’s archaic legislative website makes it very difficult for Detroiters to search for agenda items and to find information on how our representatives have voted. Transparency is the linchpin of municipal government, and our system remains quite opaque compared to other modern cities.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan even touted the benefits of home-sharing in a video for Airbnb: