These property owners who want to make an extra buck permit their homes to be rented to anyone and then blame AirBnb when terrible events occur. Sorry, everyone is guilty. The property owner, AirBnb, the renters and, in this instance, the cops.
The worst case scenario ensued as four people are murdered on Halloween in sleepy Orinda. The local cops are equally responsible as it took them nearly two hours to respond to calls from neighbors who have been complaining for months.
When the Orinda cops bestirred themselves to check it out, they found a scene of death and mayhem.
Excerpted from San Francisco Chronicle 11.1.2019
Before four people were shot dead and others were injured Thursday night at a Halloween house party in Orinda, neighbors complained about previous blowouts at the Airbnb rental home and the city sent the owners two “notices of violation,” The Chronicle has learned.
One neighbor said he emailed the city just a couple of hours before the shooting to complain about the Halloween party, as well as other large parties recently at the venue. That neighbor also called police. According to a timeline released by the city manager, the city received that email requesting code enforcement at the property at 9:35 p.m. Salomon confirmed that the neighbor called police about the unruly party around the same time.
Neighbors began calling police around 9:15 p.m. to complain about a loud party. As deputies headed to the scene shortly before 11 p.m., four people were killed and others were wounded in the shooting.
Contra Costa County Sheriff’s spokesman Jimmy Lee declined to answer questions about why police didn’t respond to the home until nearly 11 p.m. — after the shooting — when the first call to police came at about 9:15 p.m.
Another neighbor, who declined to be identified by name, said he asked the city to shut down the short-term rental after “numerous very disruptive parties,” including one that caused “significant property damage” and bottles being thrown in the yard.
We “have begged anyone that will listen to help us terminate the short-term rental for this property. We have been unsuccessful,” he said.
What had been a neighborhood annoyance turned to a frightening scene Thursday.
Alan Smith, who lives about a block away from the home, said he and other neighbors complained multiple times to both the city and Airbnb about the home, which he said has been a “neighborhood nuisance for parties.”
“We had a pretty strong conversation with the owners, along with some documentation,” said Steve Salomon, Orinda’s city manager. “We felt that they had corrected their behavior, but obviously that didn’t happen.”
The city issued two violation notices to the property at 114 Lucille Way, one for exceeding the maximum occupancy and another for parking, Assistant City Planner Winnie Mui wrote in an email obtained by The Chronicle.
“The property owner has been told via phone, email, and letter of the short-term rental regulations,” Mui wrote. “Specifically, those regulations being that while the short-term rental is being rented, the maximum occupancy allowed on the lot is 13 people and that all vehicles associated with the short-term rental shall be parked onsite.”
The owners, Michael Wang and Wenlin Lou, later made changes to the short-term rental listing following the conversation. The city said the house was brought into compliance and the owners were not fined.
“They were very receptive and very cooperative, and said they would comply,” Salomon said.
Wang told The Chronicle that his wife handles their Airbnb listing, which noted that parties were not allowed after they had problems “maybe six to seven months ago, or even longer.” Airbnb’s listing for the four-bedroom home advertised it as a house that’s good for “business travelers, families and large groups.”
However, Salomon said the city had received a complaint about the property as recently as July, when someone complained about overflowing garbage.
Wang said he was frustrated with Airbnb, adding, “we can’t control” whether people flout the rules and have parties at the home.
“Airbnb does not release the customer information before they really book, so we have no way to know,” he said. “We also tell them there’s a maximum (number of) people and no parties, but people lie.”
After the shooting, the city asked Airbnb and the online service Booking.com to take down the listing, Salomon said. Airbnb said it had suspended the home’s listing.