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City Leaders Strike Down Ban on Advertising Short-Term Room Rentals

Posted at 8:15 PM, Nov 20, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-20 20:15:34-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – City leaders decided Tuesday not to move forward with the ban on advertising short-term room rentals for people who don’t have proper licensing.

‘Homesharing’ in Grand Rapids became the center of controversy last month after the city proposed a ban that wouldn’t allow homeowners to advertise their rooms for rent.

More than 1,000 people against the proposal, many of whom use Airbnb.com to advertise their rentals, signed a petition to strike down the ban.

“It’s a great first step,” said Lisa Wieringa, who signed the petition. “Airbnb and room sharing is all over the world.”

Over the years, room sharing has grown in popularity for those who are looking to travel on a budget and for those who just want a family environment to live in.

But the new means of travel also brings a bit of controversy to many states and cities across the United States. In Grand Rapids, the city doesn’t have a category for this type of in-home business, meaning homeowners, like Wieringa, are considered a Bed and Breakfast. This means she’s required to pay thousands of dollars in licensing and fees.

The city has created a task force that will review and evaluate ways in which shorter term rentals might be allowed. They’re expected to give a recommendation to commissioners by March 2014.

“They’re gonna find a place for us to fit and I think that’s great,” Wieringa said.