Home Money Protesters gather for the right to rent their homes out

Protesters gather for the right to rent their homes out

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A small group of protestors met before the Athens City Council meeting Monday to speak out against restrictions on Airbnb.

Airbnb is a service that allows people to rent out spare rooms in their house for people to stay in for a period of time, similar to a hotel. The city of Athens has recently made efforts to regulate the service by saying any service like a bed-and-breakfast must have the proper licenses and be within a certain zoning district of Athens.

Ohio University Students for Liberty, a libertarian group on campus, was present at the scene.

“While I have never taken part in Airbnb, I am here just because I think it is not right for the government to meddle in peaceful people’s affairs who are just trying to help people out,” said Sam Raptis, a junior studying music.

The protesters felt as though people should be able to rent out their own homes as they please without any interference with the state.

“You don’t need to be recognized by the state to open up your home and have someone pay for it,” Aaron Reining, who is investigating running for city council in the next election, said. “That’s just one of those services, in terms of thinking, would be part of society.”

This issue began when Abe Alassaf, a resident of Athens and a candidate for Ohio’s 94th district representative, received a letter from the city stating that he would be fined if he continued to carry out hosting services with Airbnb.

“They basically said that I was in violation of code 23.06.02(B), which said that I cannot operate an Airbnb unless I am in a R2 zoned area, and only an R2 zoned area that falls within certain streets like Columbus Road and Richland Avenue,” Alassaf said. “It said if I didn’t stop immediately, I would be fined $500 a day.”

These restrictions have forced Alassaf to cancel future reservations guests had with him coming up this spring.

“I was also able to pay my mortgage payments the past two months with the money I made from Airbnb,” Alassaf said.

No further motion has been made on behalf of city council to further the issues dealing with Airbnb.

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