Prevent a Ban on Airbnb in Your City (Ep362)

Prevent a Ban on Airbnb in Your City (Ep362)

prevent an Airbnb ban in your city

In July 2019, Theron Lewis was in the process of scaling a short-term rental business when he read about a proposed ban on Airbnb in the city of Detroit. And his business life flashed before his eyes. Theron had no prior advocacy experience, but he knew he had to do something.

Theron is the Founder of Sharing Detroit, a group of residents, small business owners and community leaders who support the fair regulation of short-term rentals in the State of Michigan. He is also the Founder and President of Capitol Rental Management, a full-service STR property management company with a portfolio of 18 properties in Detroit, Michigan, and Chicago, Illinois.

On this episode of Get Paid for Your Pad, Theron joins me to share his story of STR advocacy, beginning with the rocky first steps (and missteps) he took to fight the proposed ban in Detroit. He explains how to go about engaging members of City Council and why you should start building relationships with these local leaders NOW—rather than waiting until regulations are on the table. Listen in for Theron’s insight on demonstrating how STR rules will impact marginalized communities and learn how building an advocacy group can benefit your business beyond preventing a ban on Airbnb!

Click on the video below to watch and listen to this podcast episode:

Topics Covered

What inspired Theron’s work around STR advocacy

  • Scaling Airbnb business in Detroit (8 properties)
  • Read about proposed ordinance to ban Airbnb

The first steps Theron took to start an advocacy campaign

  1. Find out who to talk to, who spearheaded ban
  2. Start talking to local hosts
  3. Research on affordable housing, property values
  4. Build team of volunteers

Theron’s best advice on STR advocacy in your community

  • Don’t view city government as ‘bad guys’
  • Build relationships with local leaders NOW
  • Show impact of rules on marginalized communities
  • Don’t be deterred by negativity
  • Bring hosts in to tell their stories

What you need to know about City Council meetings

  • Agenda of topics to cover available to public
  • Public gets time to speak (1 to 3 minutes)

How Airbnb helped with Theron’s fight against the ban

  • Presence at weekly meetings for credibility
  • Provide framework, help keep group informed

The turning point in Theron’s STR advocacy campaign

  • Facebook ads to let people know about ordinance
  • Email campaign to build 1,000-member community
  • Presence of 100 hosts at City Council meeting

The right way to engage City Council members

  • Invite consultant to advocacy meetings
  • Hire consultant to get in room with politicians

What happened at the Detroit City Council vote

  • Ordinance thrown out completely
  • City Council shift to pro-Airbnb sentiment

The benefits of STR advocacy beyond preventing a ban

  • Alternative form of marketing for business
  • Get ahead of issues related to COVID

Connect with Theron

Sharing Detroit

Capitol Rental Management

Theron on LinkedIn

Email theronlewis@capitolrentalmgmt.com

Email hello@sharingdetroit.com

Resources

STR Legends

Detroit’s 2019 Proposed STR Regulations

GoFundMe

Email jasper@getpaidforyourpad.com

Sponsor

Hostfully

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