Akron reviewing zoning codes on short-term home rentals through Airbnb and VRBO

AKRON, Ohio - Octavian Maianu and his wife, Jenni, see no problem with renting out their home at the end of a cul-de-sac on Cross Creek Trail in Akron.

The couple uses the the on-line marketplaces Airbnb and VRBO to rent their two-story house to Akron visitors for short stays.

The first rental was during the Republican National Convention. Octavian said he rented it five times after that, catering towards families with small children.

"We have stayed in several short-term rentals ourselves and really enjoyed the experience and we thought, 'Well, while we're away on vacation or away for a weekend, why don't we try it?'" he said.

The couple charged about $500 per night.

"It has been a little extra money that we've really enjoyed. It's allowed us to to make improvements to our home."

But one neighbor in particular didn't see it that way and complained the house was being used in a commercial way in a neighborhood zoned residential.

Octavian said that neighbor encouraged other people living on the street to send complaint letters to city officials.

"The neighbors felt that it was distracting from their traditional residential use of the neighborhood. It was becoming something more commercial," said city spokesperson Ellen Nischt.

The city sided with the neighbors and fined the Maianu's $100. However, the fine was waived when the couple agreed to remove their home from the websites.

Octavian feels unfairly singled out, because an estimated 80 to 100 other Akron homeowners are currently using Airbnb and VRBO to rent their properties.

"To single one out to not be allowed I think is extremely unfair," he said. "I think the whole process of how the city handles complaints is sort of not right."

Nischt admitted the zoning code is outdated and believes city officials will make changes to allow short-term home rentals in a limited way.

"I foresee that every neighborhood in Akron will be treated the same," she said.

That would be welcome news to Octavian who is ready to allow more visitors into his home.

"I would like to get back to it as soon as possible," he said.

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