Traverse City law may be outdated in age of online rentals

AP News
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Posted: Dec 11, 2016 4:24 PM

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Some officials in Traverse City say home rental policies in the popular tourist town might need to be revised to adapt to the era of easy online lodging.

Airbnb.com and other online services can quickly turn empty rooms into cash for property owners. But officials note that Traverse City puts limits on lodging and requires permits.

Some residents are concerned that neighborhoods could suffer if people convert properties into "cash cows."

"None of us are as well-behaved on vacation, probably, as we are at home," said local resident Chris Campbell.

So-called tourist homes are allowed in neighborhoods when the owner is present. But they must be licensed and can't be within 1,000 feet of another tourist home.

City planning commissioners are asking if the 17-year-old ordinance needs a rewrite, the Traverse City Record-Eagle (http://bit.ly/2gOVHFa ) reported Sunday. Commissioner Janet Fleshman said it's important to get public opinion.

Marta Turnbull said she's had hundreds of bookings on Airbnb, offering single rooms or an entire apartment. She said the extra income helps.

"I enjoy being an Airbnb host because it gives me an opportunity to be an ambassador for this area," Turnbull said. "I welcome people into my home, I share conversations with them, I share meals with them and I get to create these really curated experiences of Traverse City."

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Information from: Traverse City Record-Eagle, http://www.record-eagle.com