Local I-Team: Should changes be made to short-term rentals ordinance following Wharton neighbor dispute

Local I-Team

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Should you worry if there’s an AirBnB in your neighborhood?

For the past week, we’ve been telling you about a dispute between former Mayor A C Wharton and his neighbor who operates an AirBnB.

Memphis City Councilman Kemp Conrad says lax rules in the city’s short-term rental allowance allows people who rent AirBnBs to throw big parties, like the one thrown at the home next to Wharton.

“They said they would be grilling in the back yard and they would be giving plates out,” says homeowner Kareema McCloud.

McCloud says instead of an outdoor BBQ her renters threw a blow-out. Pictures and videos show what was happening at her home. The renters went so far as advertising on social media and selling tickets.

McCloud says she had no idea what was happening until it was too late.

“I didn’t find out that they had advertised until after I look and see how many people are in my backyard. That’s when I found out and called the police,” says McCloud.

The Local I-Team uncovered the same group of young people rented another AirBnB Memorial Day weekend and also threw a huge party. That homeowner told the Local I-Team it was a nightmare and major damage was done to the home. According to a Southaven Mississippi police report, as many as 1000 people were at the home and officers shut it down.

The same group also sold tickets to the party, which the homeowner didn’t know about.

“This was not the intent of AirBnB,” says Conrad.

Conrad says it’s time to overhaul the city’s short-term rental ordinance.

“We will go thru about a two-month process to make sure we can hold folks accountable that are renting out their homes, and hold people accountable who may be misleading homeowners,” said Conrad.

McCloud doesn’t think the city’s AirBnB law needs to be changed. She says renters need to be honest.

“They lied and I really hate that that’s what they did,” said McCloud.

Airbnb spokesman Charlie Urbancic issued this statement:

“Hosting is a big responsibility, and when signing up to host on Airbnb, individuals must certify that they will comply with local rules — such as noise and zoning ordinances — before they list their space. Hosts also have access to our Responsible Hosting Page which reminds them to review local regulations and provides them with additional information and resources. We are committed to helping our community members be good neighbors in the places they call home, which is why we launched our Neighbor Tool. Anyone can go to airbnb.com/neighbors to share specific concerns they might have about a listing in their community.”

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