HOLLAND, MICH. - Holland officials considering loosening restrictions on homeowners interested in renting space through the mobile app, Airbnb.
Right now, the number of days a person can rent space is limited, but that could soon change. At Washington and 15th Street, one of Holland's oldest neighborhoods taking part in one of the newer trends.
"I think for them it's been ideal, because it's a way to generate some income," said Raul Garcia, a program director for West Core Neighbors.
Garcia says neighbors began wondering why city rules make it harder for them to use online rental services, like Airbnb. That's because current city rules limit homeowners from doing short-term rentals for more than 20 days per year.
Holland resident Christy Statema frequently travels for business and she says other cities make it easier for out of town visitors, especially young professionals.
"We're missing out on a population of visitors that want to experience the community from the grassroots," Statema said.
Now, city leaders are looking at loosening restrictions. One proposal would allow owner-occupied homes to rent a room year-round.
City leaders say they're also trying to be fair to those who bought a home in a residential neighborhood, not expecting it would become a spot for commercial activity.
"There is a balancing act between the individual rights of the property owners as well as the collective neighborhood rights," said Joel Dye, director of Holland Community and Neighborhood Services.
If approved as is, the changes would allow home owners to rent their entire home to visitors 60 days a year. The final decision will be up to the Holland city council.
"The opportunity that Airbnb creates just to meet some new people from around the country from around the world I think is great," Garcia said.
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