What can you do if Airbnb ruins your neighborhood?

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When Rome fell to the barbarians, it didn’t happen overnight. The same can be said for neighborhoods that are being ruined by short-term rentals like Airbnbs. When you bought your house or signed your apartment lease, you probably thought you were buying a haven, a place where you can relax, recharge, and live your best life. You become part of a community and, because you’re all stuck together, everyone try to be respectful.

Then came the barbarians in the form of Airbnb, Vrbo and other short-term rental platforms that let people rent out their homes – or parts of them – for short periods of time. On the one hand, this innovation has enabled millions of Americans to generate income or to travel freelythese are good things. On the other hand, it has also turned many houses and apartments into largely unregulated mini-hotels. Having a short-term rental in your neighborhood can lead to a long list of miseries: Loud parties, blocked parking lot and property damage. If you haven’t heard many nightmarish stories, it might be because Airbnb spend a lot of money to keep them out of sight.

What’s wrong with short term rentals?

The problem is that the guests are not part of your neighborhood and therefore can not feeling bound by the normal rules of polite coexistence. But short-term rentals also lack the kind of staff and management that traditional hotels offer. JOwners are often off-site or even largely anonymous. While most short-term rentals do well, there are plenty of examples of Airbnb ruining neighborhoods. JThe problem got so bad that Airbnb and Vrbo had to team up to create an initiative to shut down so-called “party houses” on their platforms to avert a public relations disaster. Even the most conscientious host can have a hard time controlling what’s going on once they’ve handed over the keys to a bunch of rambles in town for a bacchanalia.

It’s one thing to have the occasional rowdy crew at the Airbnb next door, but it’s another thing when a constant stream of strangers is ruin your neighborhood. So what can you do to defend yourself? A lot, in fact.

Talk to itour nameabout your concerns

Paraphrase George Costanza, we live in a society here. Neighbors have been fighting over noise, parking, and sidewalk appeal since the dawn of private property, so your first step should always be to reach out and talk to the landlord or Airbnb host. It is quite possible that they are unaware of the problems their customers are causing and have a financial interest interest in avoiding a war with their neighbours.

It can be a casual conversation on the street or a phone call if you know the owner. Ooften, Airbnb hosts show up to oversee renovations or cleaning or to hand over keys, so you might just be able to take a moment to voice your concerns. If you don’t know who owns the neighboring property, you can try contact the host through Airbnb if you have an account, or you can try to contact Airbnb customer service.

Airbnb also maintains a Neighborhood Support Resource you can try if all else fails. Sometimes getting in touch with the host is enough to change the tone of the situation; hosts can take steps to screen their guests more effectively, and the simple act of opening lines of communication can improve everything.

Finally, consider greeting new tenants when you see them and having a civil discussion about noise and other concerns. Most people aren’t looking for a fight when staying in a short-term rental. It is often enough to remind them that there are other people in the neighborhood, who are attentive, to calm the haters.

Check the rshort-term rental rules

If the Airbnb host is not interested in your concerns, is openly hostile, or made you a lot of empty promises (or outright lies) to make things better, your next step is to do some research. There has been a growing wave of legislation across the country designed to limit what Airbnb hosts can get away with. Some of these laws limit the number of days per year the host can rent out their property, while others prevent them from renting out their homes for very short periods of time in an effort to prevent a revolving door of obnoxious strangers from plaguing your life. Moreover, mall municipalities require Airbnb hosts to be licensed or register their properties. In most cases, all it takes is a phone call to find out if your neighborhood nemesis has done it.

If there are no specific laws to refer to, contact your local planning department or zoning board to find out if your neighborhood’s zoning impacts short-term rentals. If you are part of a homeowners association (HOA) or if your neighborhood has private covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&R) that govern noise or property use, investigate these, as well as. It can often be worth spending a little money on a land use lawyer. JThey can help you scan laws and ordinances to tell you what your rights are.

The key is to arm yourself with facts about what you can and cannot do. If you know you can file a long list of official complaints, for example, then you can go back to the host (or Airbnb itself) and try to reason again, but this time you’re carrying a big stick.

contact useveryone on your short term rental issues

If you’re armed with real information and your good faith efforts to find a peaceful resolution with the property host have failed, it’s time to make some phone calls or send some emails..

Certainly, file a complaint with Airbnb. But don’t stop there. Contact your local zoning or planning department if you know Airbnb is violating local ordinances and file a complaint. If your municipality requires a license or registration and your neighbor has not complieddrop that penny too.

If the host isn’t breaking any of these rules, your next step might be to call the local police and file a noise complaint. Most communities havenuisancelaws on the books designed to prevent anything “that interferes with the use of the property,” which includes noise or other irritating behavior. You could also file a complaint against Airbnb with the Better Business Bureau.

Thennuclear oresponse to the Airbnb threat

If all else fails, consider filing a lawsuit. You may have reason to claim that noise and other disturbances constitute “private nuisance”, which you may go to small claims court as long as you are only asking for damages. JCheck the limit of monetary damages in your local jurisdiction. If you want to seek an injunction to stop your neighbor from renting out his property, things obviously get a little complicated, but it may be worth it depending on your misery.

Most Airbnb hosts are normal people who just want to make some extra money, and most disputes over short-term rentals can be resolved with a phone call. But when they can’t, at least now you know your options.

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