Lorain plans to crack down on Airbnb landlords

The City of Lorain will aggressively target owners of Airbnb or short-term accommodation services by forcing them to apply for zoning waivers, appear before the planning commission for approval, or possibly create legislation to better control who can exploit them as well as rent them. .

The issue has simmered over the past few months among residents who live near homes advertised as short-term rentals, particularly a vocal contingent of landlords whose homes are located along East Erie Avenue where many services short-term accommodations are currently operating.

The municipal council of Lorain broached the subject on April 25 during a meeting of the building and land commission.

Several residents spoke out against short-term accommodation services and questioned why the city couldn’t do more to regulate them.

Complicating the issue, the state legislature is currently working on legislation that would make it illegal for local communities to ban short-term accommodation services.

The majority of short-term accommodation services are located in Ward 1.

“We’re inundated with people buying properties and turning them into short-term rentals,” Ward 1 Councilor Beth Henley said. “Many of them are not even controlled locally.

“Many of the landlords I know are from out of town, and some from out of state and they have no skin in what is happening to disrupt and destabilize our neighborhoods.”

Several residents who live next to or near short-term housing services have expressed concern because they do not know who is renting the houses.

They said houses can be rented out for huge parties, which can get out of hand quickly, and they were worried about intruders.

The impact of short-term accommodation services on property value was also raised as a concern.

Diane Lindway, who lives near a short-term accommodation service on Cleveland Avenue, said she was concerned about reports of shootings there.

Lindway said she and her husband bought their house when it was foreclosed and they “remade the whole house”.

“Our neighborhood is very quiet,” she said. “People generally keep to themselves and respect the privacy of others.”

When addressing the Council on the subject, Lindway cited one report after another in which a short-term accommodation service was the scene of a shooting.

Lindway said that short-term accommodation services could put a strain on Lorain’s security services and openly questioned the process for vetting tenants and what kind of insurance owners of Lorain’s services short-term accommodation and those who rent have.

Committee chair and general counsel Mary Springowski said her research indicated there were at least 70 homes in Lorain listed on the Airbnb website.

Mayor Jack Bradley said the city must overcome what the legislature is trying to do by cracking down on short-term accommodation services as businesses.

“We need to go to these businesses and say you need to come to the zoning board or the planning commission and get your waiver to run this business in a residential area,” Bradley said. “And if you don’t, we shut you down until you do.”

The city could also make money in the process, as it can cost $350 to $500 to apply for a zoning variance, said Matt Kusznir, director of the city’s construction, housing and planning department. city ​​to the Building and Lands Committee.

The city plans to obtain a list of addresses of the 70 short-term accommodation services in residential neighborhoods and order them to appear before the Lorain Planning Commission or the Zoning Appeal Board for deviations.

“If they don’t get it, they’re out of business,” Bradley said. “And then we don’t have to worry about our legislature.”

Springowski flashed back to 1776 as she tore into state lawmakers for trying to usurp power from local governments to regulate short-term lodging services.

“I would also like to remind our legislature in Columbus that this country was founded because we fought the tyranny of absentee leaders with taxation without representation,” she said. “We did it once, we can do it again.

“We follow the house rule here and they might need an education on what house rule means.”

Councilman Tony Dimmachia said he would like to see the city’s craft legislation that addresses short-term accommodation services.

“We have an opportunity as a government agency that holds these people accountable,” Dimmachia said. “I think there are people who are actually running Airbnb the way they should be in a respectful way, and they’re doing it the right way.

“The problem is people abusing this particular law by using these houses as night shelters. They have total disregard for the community.

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