Short-term renters face tougher rules in Orinda

ORINDA — Short-term home rentals without a host are banned in this city, the city council has ruled, making a temporary rule permanent.

The ban on hostless rentals comes just weeks after a man was shot and killed during an Airbnb house party in Sunnyvale and nearly two years after five people were killed in a mass shooting. killed five people at a Halloween party at another Airbnb in Orinda.

Any host will also need to own and live in the property as their primary residence, be physically present throughout the tenancy, and guests must stay a minimum of two days.

The rules were first put in place as an emergency order following the fatal shooting at 114 Lucille Way.

The board is expected to give final approval to the bylaw during a second reading on Sept. 7.

“When we think back to the horror of this tragedy (on Halloween in 2019), it seems maybe a long, long time ago, considering the past year and a half of our entire lives,” Councilor Darlene Gee said. August 3. , when the council gave unanimous initial support for the requirements to become permanent. “The reality is that this was an incredible moment in Orinda’s history. And obviously a heartbreaking one.

No one from the audience mentioned short-term rentals at the meeting.

This was in contrast to the council meeting just days after the Holloween shooting, when an overflowing crowd of more than 200 turned out, with around 50 speakers demanding tighter rental regulations.

“It’s really just an extension of how the community came together in a terrible time of tragedy in 2019,” councilor Inga Miller said.

Along with updating the rules for short-term rentals, the order will aim to put additional pressure on accommodation platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway, including requiring them to ensure that anyone listing a location includes a city registration number in its listing.

“This will allow us to very quickly confirm that the listing is registered and also identify the address of that listing,” planning director Drummond Buckley told the council.

This will “help ensure the rules are followed,” Buckley said.

Violations of the order can result in fines ranging from $250 to $1,000.

If passed in September, the rules will become permanent in October. The additional regulations regarding hosting platforms would come into force in January.

The decision to make the rules permanent comes as a man was fatally shot and injured on Aug. 7 in Sunnyvale, at least the fourth shooting at an Airbnb party home in Northern California in less than two years.

Airbnb said it would take legal action against the person who hosted the Sunnyvale party, which allegedly attracted up to 200 guests.

At the time of the Orinda killings, 44 short-term rentals were registered with the city. At the start of this month, the city had 20 registered properties, according to Orinda officials. The city charges a $254 registration fee, valid for one year.

In 2017, Orinda passed an ordinance regulating short-term rentals after a 21-year-old man was nearly beaten to death at a house party in 2016, city officials said.

However, this policy did not distinguish between hosted and non-hosted rentals. It also did not require the owner to be present when the property was rented, and did not set a minimum duration for the rental.

Since passing Orinda’s emergency ordinance, the city has received three short-term rental complaints – one about the number of people in a residence and the other two complaints about rentals that allegedly took place. without a host being present on the property.

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