Westboro residents frustrated after 'out of control' party at luxury Airbnb
Airbnb rental in Westboro.
Residents on a quiet street in Westboro woke Sunday morning to a large police presence outside an Airbnb. Ottawa Police had been called after a fight and recovered a large butcher knife.
Now the community is pressing for answers on how the city is tackling the issue of short-term rentals.
This may be the first disturbance at the property on Tay Street, but it's not the first concern residents have had about these so-called "ghost hotels”; properties with no long term tenants.
The city says it's working on a review; it can't come soon enough for homeowners.
It's a gorgeous property in a desirable neighbourhood and it's listed as that on Airbnb. For a mere $325 a night, the 3-bedroom luxury rental is up for grabs.
One Westboro resident near Tay Street says grab it somebody did and threw quite a party that she says got out of control.
“They were on the stairwell, it was a wild party,” she says, “Oh boy, it's going to be a good night, I thought. I came out to garden at 6 in the morning and it was going strong.”
Other residents wonder whether their quiet residential neighbourhood is turning into a short-term rental market to capitalize on investment income.
“Just everybody coming and going and the noises,” says resident June Boggs, “It's not something we're used to, let's put it that way.”
Ottawa police confirm they were called twice to that location early Sunday morning; once at 4:30 a.m. for a fight. The second time, a couple hours later for mischief, likely related to some broken windows.
A local company called Aircare manages the property under Airbnb and says this is a viable business venture for property owners.
"Neighbours do not need to be concerned" Aircare said in a statement, "as this was a one off situation that has never happened before. We do everything we can to screen people but some people lie and deceive."
Last fall, a man was shot and killed outside an Airbnb on nearby Carruthers Streets and another was injured at an Airbnb in Centretown.
The councillor for the area, Jeff Leiper, says the city is conducting a few of short-term rentals and hopes for strong regulations governing Airbnb soon.
“This fall it would not surprise me as a result of that review, for example,” Leiper says, “if you want to rent your property out on Airbnb that it has to be your primary residence. That would cut down on the unoccupied or no owner around/party problems we are seeing.”
And while some residents are fine with the idea of Airbnb’s in neighbourhoods,
“It’s good business,” says Sarah Felhaber, that review can't come fast enough for other residents.
“There are problems with Airbnb, as you know,” she says, “I hope we're not going to have this every weekend.”
Jeff Leiper says there are two issues that city review will focus on: the loss of rental properties as a result of these short-term rentals and the problem here, party houses.