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illustration of a house with a video shoot

Short-term Rental

Film crew on location

by James Leonard

From the April, 2021 issue

On a Friday in March, cars with out-of-state plates lined Covington Dr. as people set up lights and cameras outside a quiet house. What was a video crew doing on Ann Arbor's far west side?

"That guy had contacted me three weeks prior to that," explains Jordan Gaarenstroom, the U-M assistant men's gymnastics coach who owns the home and rents it out as an Airbnb. "He was like, 'Hey, I'm a producer. Here's my work.' He actually sent me his page on Amazon, and it was legit." Washtenaw County had hired him to produce police protocol videos: "how to detain someone that's entering a garage or exiting a garage or moving through a side door."

Gaarenstroom bought the house in September 2019 and at first lived there himself while renting it out occasionally. But the rentals proved so popular and so lucrative that he moved into an apartment downtown. "It's killing it, man," he says. He charges $196 a night, and "can't remember a month where it hasn't rented at least twenty-five days."

Gaarenstroom says most rentals are for long weekends, but one guy who worked in construction stayed forty-five days. "The hospital and people visiting, or family members staying indefinitely" are another steady source of income. And "football games are definitely huge."

He says the experience "has kind of developed my interest in real estate, like really multiplied it ... If I could have ten of these, I would be thrilled."

That seems unlikely: city council is currently leaning towards allowing current short-term rentals to remain--but plans to continue the ban on new ones in residential neighborhoods.     (end of article)

[Originally published in April, 2021.]


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