CHARLOTTE — Airbnb and Vrbo have been vocal about cracking down on “party houses” recently, but some residents in a north Charlotte neighborhood say the companies haven’t been following through.
The house in the Davis Lake neighborhood looks like a lot of homes on Airbnb and Vrbo.
Alex Vigilante lives on one side of it. Angela and Richard Blocker live two doors down on the other side.
They say people rented the house for parties regularly, leading to noise at all hours of the night, trash and cars crowding the street.
“There was a string where it was happening every weekend for a couple weeks. I’d say on average maybe twice a month,” Vigilante told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke. “It’s really unsettling. Really frustrating.”
“We’ve called police several times,” Richard Blocker said. Vigilante said he’s called police “probably at least four or five times.”
Vigilante and the Blockers say they complained to Rabbu, the management company handling the house, as well as Airbnb and Vrbo. “They kind of give canned answers via email,” Richard Blocker said.
Both companies prohibit “party houses,” provide contact information for neighbors to report them and say they’re even working together, sharing information, to ban certain properties from their platforms.
Vigilante and the Blockers wanted the companies to stop listing the house and asked Stoogenke for help.
“It’s like living next door to a hotel room,” Richard Blocker said. “It’s not what this or similar neighborhoods are about.”
“It’s been disappointing. It really has,” Vigilante said.
Stoogenke emailed Airbnb, Rabbu and Vrbo. Less than a week later, Airbnb and Rabbu dropped the property. Vrbo did not respond in time for this report, but it appears the home is no longer on its website. Stoogenke also texted the owner of the house for comment, but that person did not respond in time for this report either.
Airbnb emailed Stoogenke that it “bans ‘party houses,’ and we expect our Hosts to demonstrate respect for neighbors. Neighbors are important community stakeholders, and we are thankful to those who brought us their concerns through our Neighborhood Support Line, which greatly helped our investigation. The listing has been removed from the platform.”
Report “party houses” to Airbnb’s Neighborhood Support Line
Report “party houses” to Vrbo’s Stay Neighborly Program
Rabbu emailed Stoogenke:
“We go out of our way to discourage parties and have put in multiple measures (see below), but sometimes guests provide false information and it slips through. We are continuously looking to improve the process and do have a 24/7 team available in case something happens.
- We impose two-night minimum stays.
- We decline booking requests that mention parties.
- We disallow bookings in Charlotte from people who live in Charlotte.
- We install noise monitors to monitor for party-like behavior — these catch anything at or above 81 decibels, meaning that we don’t get notifications for families having fun, but it does send us an alert when there’s a small (or big) party. The noise alerts are monitored 24/7 by our Customer Support team, and Airbnb/the police are contacted if there are multiple triggers.
- We conduct guest identity verification, incl. ensuring the person who booked the stay is the same person who checks in. We also look at every guest’s previous reviews — if any mention any damage or a party, we decline that booking as well.
Unfortunately, this is not limited to just us and this property. Airbnb is aware that some properties are sometimes being used for parties; it is implementing measures to mitigate it and worked with hosts to release anti-party technology last week.
With regards to the particular property mentioned, we have decided to no longer operate it. It became obvious that it was a nuisance to the community and attracting the wrong guests, so we’ve decided to move on. It is no longer an active property. In order for short-term rentals to thrive as a type of accommodation, it must be mutually beneficial to both travelers and the surrounding community. This property was not beneficial to the surrounding community, so we’ve made the mindful decision to cease operations.
This is an incredibly rare instance across our portfolio — most of our properties are great pillars for the community in which they are situated, offering local and unique stays to travelers and infusing tourism into the local economies in which they are located.”
(Watch below: Airbnb announces permanent ban to ‘party houses’)
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