Short-term rentals cause tension ahead of Memorial Day

NOW: Short-term rentals cause tension ahead of Memorial Day

On the eve of Memorial Day weekend, maybe people are considering renting Airbnb, but it's been a major point of contention for residents in the Michiana area.

There are a lot of short-term rental homes in South Haven and most other beach communities, but the city is struggling to find a balance between neighbors' concerns about noise, crowds and strangers---and owners’ desires to rent out their properties

“The opposition wants to monetize everything,” said Walt Plechaty, a South Haven resident.

Plechaty, who's lived in South Haven for over 14 years, is a staunch opponent of short-term rentals like Airbnb mainly because he fears they are over running his community.

“Every other town up and down the coast from New Buffalo to Traverse City has anywhere between 30 and 150 short-term rentals, in their city limits. We have 750,” said Plechaty.

Plechaty is a big advocate of the Neighborhoods Need Neighbors' initiative.

The group wants to limit the number of short-term rentals in the area.

Plechaty also says only 17% of rentals in South Haven are owned by South Haven residents, and some neighborhoods are turning into ghost towns too often.

“We have blocks in our town where there are no residents anymore,” he said.

For its part, Airbnb just announced it is cracking down on people booking last-minute one- and two-night stays because they are more likely to host large parties.

They're specifically targeting Memorial Day and the Fourth of July to start.

“The South Haven market deals with more larger rentals than we do, they see people coming in for maybe special events or celebrating some special event,” said Dayna Kozminski, a resident of St. Joseph.

Kozminski leases her house out every summer on Silver Beach in St. Joseph and said there has not been as many problems due to restrictions put in by the city there.

“History of really controlling the short-term rental market here, first there are not a lot of permits (given out) and second of all were limited on size,” she said.

Airbnb said 300 million people will rent through its online platform this year alone.

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