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Proposed bill protects short-term rentals

Posted at 5:45 AM, Nov 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-29 11:09:32-05

Short-term rentals, like Airbnb were under attack at Wednesday's meeting.

FOX 47 News's Megan Hiler has why Check In Michigan is against what they call "unregulated" short-term rentals.

Check In Michigan, a group of homeowners and tourism leaders, say the short-term rentals need to be regulated by local governments, not by the state.

"I understand that there has to be some, but let's let the township decide where that's going to be," Pauline Smith said.

That may change under two proposed bills right now in the House and Senate. The state would be able to stop communities from banning short-term rentals.

Smith, whose house has been in her family since 1928, says that one of her neighbors rents out their house through Airbnb. She said it's been a nightmare.

"You come out, and you can't really enjoy your property because there's a big party there, and then the next day there's a big party there, and then a couple days later ... there's a party there," she said.

Other problems brought up were the rentals being an "unfair competition to hotels because they don't pay the same taxes, and don't go through the same inspections."

But Airbnb hosts disagree.

"The whole Airbnb model is based on reviews. Everyone wants to get a good review; 99.9 percent of the people are great," Van Braatz said.

Ben Breit, a representative for Airbnb, told News 10 there are multiple measures the company takes to ensure safety. These include risk scoring, background checks, providing reviews and providing free smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to hosts.

As for the taxes, he said, Airbnb collects taxes on each booking, and the exact same taxes apply to them as hotels.

Braatz said he understands not wanting to live next to a noisy rental, but that shouldn't mean communities should ban them altogether. He also said people should have more options of where they want to stay and, if they have one problem, it doesn't mean it's the same everywhere.

"I think because it's new and unknown to a lot of people, they like to say 'Oh, something bad happened; it must be bad.' But it's not. We travel almost exclusively with Airbnb." Braatz said.