There goes the neighborhood

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Life next door to an Airbnb

After the tortuous two-years-long demolition of the house next door to me, and subsequent construction of four condos, I figured there would be a light at the end of the tunnel—like, maybe the new neighbors will be nice people? The problem is, I didn’t get “neighbors” at all; I got “guests.” The condo owner didn’t rent to regular tenants under a lease but chose Airbnb guests instead.

Who are these people?

Airbnb is a web-based service that pairs up property owners with short-term rental occupants. Stays last as little as one night, but are usually a few nights. Guests are often travelers and/or vacationers. This is literally private properties being turned into hotels, in ordinary neighborhoods, on ordinary residential streets, such as mine in NoHo.

So what?

Aside from taking long-term rentals off the housing market – rentals that could be called home for folks in the current, well-documented housing crisis, we’re getting fly-by-nighters who have no regard for the community. Why? Because most of them are on vacation and will be gone in a few days.

Here’s a few things I’ve noticed over the last few months:

  • Standing outside and smoking (pew!), whether on the front sidewalk or on the balcony, is a huge thing. I never knew so many people smoked until  Airbnb arrived.
  • People can be loud. Of course! It’s a big party for these short-term vacationers. Get ready to hear pumped-up music and annoying chatter until 2am, often mid-week.
  • Uber and Lyft vehicles appear every hour on the hour, coming and going, stopping in front of everyone’s driveways, picking up hotel guests. Add to this, countless food deliveries since most vacationers don’t cook.
  • Since this is essentially a “hotel,” cleaning crews and maintenance staff are constantly coming and going.
  • You know how you wheel your garbage cans in and out each week? Well these people don’t. You think Airbnb guests are going to do that chore? No. The cans sit outside on the sidewalk or on the street week after week after week.
  • Sunday mornings used to be peaceful and quiet—not anymore! With a 10am checkout, hotel guests mill about at 9:30am, either waiting for a ride or loading their own vehicles (which take up valuable street parking needed by regular neighborhood residents).

Waving the white flag

With more and more homes in the area being torn down and condos going up in their place, and with (presently) little to no restrictions on Airbnb or other short-term rental agencies, there goes the neighborhood!

My only hope now is to avail myself as a tour guide. Perhaps I can sell maps to stars’ homes. After all, I do know where a few celebrities live in Toluca Lake.

Sal Rodriguez is a lifelong Los Angeles resident and Supervising Editor of The Tolucan Times.

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