Update: A mere 24 hours after the new policy was supposed to become enforceable, the city of Detroit has backtracked, issuing a statement saying that the new ordinance is under legal review. In other words, (for now) it's not illegal for Airbnb hosts to rent out single rooms.
It seems some cities are none too pleased with the explosive popularity of services like Airbnb. In January, we reported Airbnb was forced to drop 4,760 listings in San Francisco due to tough new regulations from the city.
The regulations required Airbnb hosts to register with the city or face fines of up to $1,000 per day. While a partial compromise was reached that allowed Airbnb to register hosts themselves, hosts still needed to provide the company with the relevant information - something owners of the previously mentioned 4,760 listings failed to do in time.
Now, Detroit is implementing some regulations of their own but in a seemingly less forgiving manner. As reported by Curbed Detroit, a new city zoning ordinance "quietly" went into effect this week that appears to be targeting Airbnb hosts specifically.
The relevant portion of the ordinance is as follows:
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 as provided in Sec. 61-12-46 of this Code.
While San Francisco's Airbnb regulations were focused more on "commonsense regulations" that simply required hosts to fill out some additional paperwork, Detroit seems to be banning Airbnb hosting outright in certain residential zones.
"We're very disappointed by this turn of events," Airbnb said in a statement. "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."
Though Detroit's Airbnb community is not quite as large as San Francisco's was, the company's 2017 host data says the city is home to over 430 active Airbnb hosts, who collectively earned $5.2 million in 2017.