When I bought my home in 2009, it was not beside a hotel. Now it is. The property adjacent to mine in a quiet, rural area sold a year ago to new owners who obviously bought it to run a full time hotel. Short-term rentals in the area are illegal, but the bylaws are enforced on a complaint basis and the fines are low. I find it very unpleasant to have new strangers arriving at the house beside me every 3 to 5 days. I don’t feel safe in my own home.
Although it’s in a rural setting, the houses are close. Airbnb guests and workers servicing the “hotel” have parked in my driveway blocking me in repeatedly in spite of “no parking” signs I installed after the parking problem started when the new owners showed up. The new owners’ realtor, building inspector, cable company, cleaning staff and guests have all parked in my driveway, parking me in and completely blocking the driveway.
Each time I have gone down and knocked on the door and asked them to move their vehicle. Each time, they rolled their eyes at me and indicated that this was a big inconvenience to them – but they did move their vehicles. I took photos of their vehicles and I was ready to have them towed. Although they always moved their vehicles, how many times a week should I be expected to go down and ask them to move?
If I need to get my car out to go to work, I don’t always have time to deal with an Airbnb vehicle blocking my driveway. Airbnb guests from next door have rung my doorbell early in the morning awakening me (I was thinking there must be some sort of dire emergency) to ask me where they might find a good swimming beach. Swell.
Even if I live beside a neighbour who I don’t like too much, I get used to them and I know who is there. Living beside an Airbnb hotel with a high turnover is much worse. Most guests are quiet and don’t cause any problems. But still – we don’t know who they are. This creates a sense of uneasiness and insecurity for the neighbours.
Some Airbnb guests are more problematic. With the average stay being 3-5 days and the Airbnb rented out solidly all year long, we were bound to get some problematic guests eventually. That happened the first two weekends in June 2018 when two separate groups of Airbnb guests were caught red-handed stealing firewood from a neighbouring house (not my house – I’ve had to install security cameras on my house to deter them).
The first group of thieves acted belligerently when confronted by a neighbour and absconded with the firewood anyway. The weekend of June 9th, the exact same scenario occurred: same neighbour caught the guests red-handed stealing firewood. He made them put it back this time and reported it to the police. The police won’t do anything; they have bigger fish to fry.
The neighbour who caught the firewood thieves and I have both filed complaints with Airbnb and with the municipality. We’ve requested that the municipality enforce their own bylaws. The municipality sent a representative right away to the door of the Airbnb. The owners happened to be present at the time, even though they are rarely present. I don’t know the outcome… likely a small fine and it carries on.
Airbnb has not replied at all to any complaints and the firewood thieves still have rave reviews about how wonderful they are on the Airbnb website. I’d feel slightly better if the firewood thieves had been called out and received bad reviews on the Airbnb website. There are no bad reviews on Airbnb. All reviews are positive. No one wants to risk giving a bad review because then they might get a bad review in return. That’s bad for business.
The review system doesn’t work because all reviews are positive. The picture of the BBQ shows my house to the left. The rocky garden in the background in that picture is my property. The owners do not tell the Airbnb guests this, so the guests are angry when I am out weeding my own garden. They have no qualms about trespassing. These guests got rave reviews. They could be staying beside you next week.