By Roxanne Brown
As so many embrace the short-term rental (STR) sharing economy, here’s what I’ve experienced as a resident living with it. I know a single mother who is renting a one bedroom for $2,400. She can’t afford the rent, so she Air B&Bs (ABB) her apartment (illegally) for a week each month, while she and her daughter stay elsewhere. That income supplements her “market rate” rent.
I know someone who has been working in another state, and due to the high “market rents” here with scarce apartments available, she isn’t quite willing to let go of her apartment.Thus, she ABBs it illegally.
And, I know a single mother, who legally rents ABB rooms and lives on premises.
All of the people AB.Bing mentioned above tell me they are contacted by ABB to show up at protests, hearings, listening sessions to stand up for and protect all of ABB, or they (the people legally ABBing) will all be susceptible to being closed down. NRA tactics? Stand up for all ABB – the corporations, investors, people, and individuals who have purchased several homes for the sole purpose of ABBing them and who are ABBing several apartments and/or whole apartment buildings as commercial “de facto” hotels?
Another friend who has lived in an apartment building for several years tells me that her landlord is making it into a hotel. Now it’s mostly short-term rentals with parties and noise every night. The remaining tenants do not complain, as they are afraid of losing their apartments.
A tenant in a high rise building on Washington near the beach tells me that most of his building is now STR. People come from Russia to have a baby born here. They come from Qatar for cancer treatment. Only a small core of residents continue to live in the building. The same seems to be happening at Renaissance condos on Main between Rose and Navy. Is that in the homeowner’s association rulebook?
Some very expensive homes are STRs for $750 a night, seven-day minimums, see luxuryretreats.com. That kind of income really boosts the “market” sales and rental prices.
Luxury homes in the Venice Canals are STRs and go for $600 or more a night – invite 30 friends at $20 a pop and party 24/7.
Near me, a quiet artist occupied his studio for several years. The landlord raised the price to “market” rate rental. The one artist departed and was replaced by three artists who rented the studio at the new “market” rate. Those three artists appear to STR the studio out on weekends to other artists for their openings and exhibits. On weekends, people are drinking, standing in the street and talking loudly in front of residents’ homes until as late as 2 a.m. Just last week, I walked out of my neighbor’s home and we bumped into a young woman peeing in my neighbor’s bushes as her two friends looked on. They were all very drunk and laughing.
My neighbor and I approached people packing up the “party” and asked how soon it was ending as we had just discovered this woman peeing in the bushes. They said, “That’s not our responsibility.”
STRs seem to be creating false “market” rental and condo/home sales prices, along with a shortage that further inflates these “market” rates. Some STR guests are denying residents’ rights to experience peace and quiet enjoyment in their homes. Seems we are all paying a very high “market price” in this sharing economy.
As I walk around-Venice’s “residential” streets, I see tourists wheeling their suitcases, stopping at a door, picking up their cell phone and announcing, “We’re here.” I see the lock boxes.
Recently, I saw a very young couple with suitcases having a hard time getting the door of a tall fence open – their key didn’t work. The young man, boosted the young woman over the fence, and she then let him in. I watched and indeed, they had a key to the door and let themselves in.
In my opinion, more STR tourists mean less residents and less of a vested interest in the neighborhood – less neighborhood watch. STR tourists are less likely to report a suspicious situation or crime, as they often know they aren’t legally supposed to be in these STR residents.
Keep Neighborhoods First (KNF} is trying to regulate the commercial exploitation of STRs. KNF’s website states:
“We do not oppose legitimate home sharing. Rather, we aim to bring together the concerned, ignored, evicted and deceived community members who are ready to stop commercialized short-term rental abuse.”
Real estate companies are marketing apartment buildings for sale in Venice as STR properties. Independent property management companies, investor groups, corporations (remember, they’re people) and individuals are offering landlords well over market price (at least 20% over) for rent controlled apartments and then renting them as STRs for hundreds of dollars a night. This is the “commercialization” of STRs that Keep Neighborhoods First is fighting.
Tourists can access STRs on more than 20 different Internet sites. Thus, Venetians are pretty much seeing people with suitcases wheeling down every block in Venice. After all, Venice takes up only three square miles and has more than a thousand STRs that KNF knows of. What’s the real number?
When Venetians move into their “residential” homes, condos, apartments, and neighborhoods, they don’t expect to be next to a “hotel” with tourists constantly coming and going drinking, talking loudly, partying on their vacations, creating nuisances and committing crimes (the ABB incidents in Canada and Palm Springs).
Please attend Keep Neighborhoods First very important listening sessions – getting elected officials to listen – so that they might take action on behalf of residents:
October 1, 2015 at 7 p.m.
North Hollywood Recreation Center
11430 Chandler Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 91601
October 3, 2015
Lafayette Park Rec;reation Center
625 South Lafayette Park Place
Downtown LA, CA 90057
Contact Keep Neighborhoods First at:
Visit them on Facebook,
Keep Neighborhoods First for residents.
Thanks for listening.