Post by abbieandkevin on Oct 12, 2015 19:42:20 GMT
My husband Kevin and I host two rooms out of our adorable Berkley, Michigan bungalow. Unfortunately, the city is trying to shut down short term rentals/tourism homes. We are very upset this is happening to us, and are ready to fight the fight. We absolutely love hosting and will be crushed is we have to give this up. We will be in Paris next month for the Open and look forward to meeting many fantastic hosts who can offer advice on our situation. In the meantime, any advice you can provide for my husband's rescheduled meeting tomorrow would be great. From his first impression on the phone, he said she means business and doesn't sound very pleasant. We are prepared to discuss with the Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem and other city council members.
Hi Abbie, welcome! Do you know other hosts in your community who can rally with you guys? We're facing the same threat in Los Angeles, but we've made headway with the City Council by pointing out that Airbnb brings dollars to small businesses in our neighborhoods. Good luck!
Post by High Priestess on Oct 13, 2015 5:30:24 GMT
Hello, Abbie, from the other Berkeley, the one on the West Coast and by the San Francisco bay....
I have commented on your post about this in NHF and want to offer a little more encouragement -- it may help to see this in two ways, through two lenses. The first lens is, that the city is responding to your short term rentals through its "old laws" on the books, its pre-existing laws. In most ALL cities across the entire nation, short term rentals in private homes have been illegal according to "the old laws." It's been a story repeated many times that if Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk (the three Airbnb founders) had simply started out by walking into their local city council chambers and saying that they wanted to start renting out a sofa in their apartment to travelers, or a room in their home to short term guests, "so how about it guys, can you pass a law that lets us do that?" They would have been laughed out of the city council and Airbnb would never have existed.
IT's the huge MOMENTUM of the spread of hosting around the world that has forced municipalities to look at this issue differently, as a movement of modern times, as something that isn't going away. As members of the Berkeley (CA) Housing Advisory Commission recently said, "The Sharing Economy is not going away" and "The Sharing Economy is here to stay." Cities need to "get with the times" in this respect and recognize this phenomenon, rather than stick their heads in the sand.
So the second lens to look through is that the existing laws in your region, are not representative of modern times and the modern way of life. These laws are in need of being updated. So, even if you might get "shut down" by the "existing" laws in your region, that doesn't mean that you can't still lobby for and advocate for updated laws which reflect the reality of the sharing economy.
Unfortunately the folks who enforce laws in cities, the government bees, aren't often really visionary folks. But if there are more open minded and visionary folks on your city council or in your district, those are the ones you want to talk to, and try to influence them to then influence the others.
YOu might read this which I wrote about the history of guest houses, the precursor to hotels and B&B's. Before there were any hotels, travelers stayed at private homes.
Another thought for you -- if you can't do short term rentals according to existing laws, would you be able to apply to become an "official" B&B? Some hosts have done this -- they got a conditional use permit and became an official B&B. Cities may allow that when they dont' otherwise allow short term rentals in residences.
Post by abbieandkevin on Oct 16, 2015 16:06:50 GMT
I am still getting used to this forum, so I apologize for not responding sooner! Kevin had a really great meeting with the City Planner. She gave him a lot of time, and really was open to hearing him out on how AirBNB is beneficial to the community. It sounds like someone reported conditions of another home in the area (that has plenty of negative reviews), and they have reached out to everyone in order to protect guests. She agrees that the law is old and could be looked at for modifications. We were told that to accomplish this goal we needed to reach out to city council members. Three of the five responded to us very positively. We have a meeting set up this weekend and hopefully another one for next week.
We are going to suggest home inspections along with a license in order to list your home on AirBNB. We believe that this will help bring structure to the program, and allow the city to be involved in the process. We certainly want to make sure that anyone coming to our area has an incredible and memorable experience for all the right reasons. We plan to bring our guide book, house manual, along with all of our positive reviews to our meeting tomorrow. An invitation to visit our home will also be extended. We still have three reservations scheduled that we plan on honoring. It's been very hard turning down reservations, and for the meantime, we've blocked off our calendar until the end of the year to show the city we are serious about their letter.
More than anything, once we get through this process, we really want to be able to share our experiences with the AirBNB community and be of assistance to anyone else facing the same challenges. If it weren't for so many hosts here, I wouldn't have known what to do aside from completely shut down what we love doing.
We can't wait to connect with hosts in Paris in a few short weeks.