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City of Detroit to hold off on enforcing new Airbnb restrictions

Earlier this week, the city began sending notices to Airbnb hosts that outlined new limitations for renting out rooms. But the city said today that they won't enforce the new rules right away.

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Detroit residents who rent out rooms through websites like Airbnb can continue to do so without worrying about breaking a new city ordinance -- at least, for a little while. The city had started to send out notices to hosts earlier this week that outlined changes to a city zoning ordinance that would limit hosts from renting out single rooms. On Friday, a city official said in a statement that the city's legal department would review the ordinance, and hosts wouldn't be ticketed in the meantime.

The Detroit city council approved the changes in November as part of a 200-page update to the city's zoning code, according to the Detroit Metro Times. The restriction on room rentals would impact half of the city's 430 Airbnb units.

"The ordinance as written appears to ban all homeowners from having even their own friends and relatives stay at their homes if that friend or relative is paying them rent," said David Bell, director of Detroit's Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department (BSEED), in the statement. "The public was never told that was intended. I have asked the law department to review this question and give BSEED guidance."

Bell said the city wouldn't ticket homeowners who rent out rooms "through Airbnb or otherwise" pending the legal review.

"We applaud the city for doing the right thing and protecting every day people who are sharing their homes to pay the bills," according to a statement from Airbnb. "Airbnb has partnered with hundreds of cities to develop commonsense home sharing regulations, and we look forward to collaborating with Detroit leaders moving forward."