Orinda, California, is poised to ban certain short-term rentals after a shooting at an Airbnb listing left five dead in the town, the town’s mayor told Inman.
The massacre, which took place on Halloween at an Airbnb rental property, highlighted how tech companies are struggling to cope with undesired uses of homes listed on their platforms. It happened the same night that a drive-by shooting injured five teenagers at a Phoenix home owned by iBuyer Opendoor, where a Halloween party was also being held.
Airbnb’s CEO pledged on Twitter to ban “party houses” after the Orinda murders, though the company released few details on how it would do so, the Los Angeles Times reported. Opendoor, meanwhile, told Inman after the drive-by shooting at one of its listings that it was cooperating with a police investigation of the incident.
But to prevent other out-of-control parties at short-term rental listings, the city council of Orinda plans to take matters into its own hands.
Council members decided Tuesday to direct city staff to introduce an “urgency ordinance” at its next meeting on Nov. 19, Orinda’s mayor, Inga Miller, told Inman by email.
The ordinance would immediately ban “non-hosted” short-term rentals — those that are not occupied by their owner — if approved by a 5-4 vote after a public hearing held during the meeting. The ordinance would be due to expire in 45 days, but could be extended up to two years.
All five council members are currently in favor of the ban, according to Miller.
City officials will also “look at a permanent ordinance revising our regulations on short term rentals more generally,” she said.
ABC7 reported previously that the city was thinking about banning short-term rentals, requiring hosts to be on site when guests are present or mandating that they stay a minimum of two nights,
“If you took a poll and went door-to-door, everyone would say, ‘ban short-term rental stays,” Don Perata, a former California state senator who lives near the home where the shooting took place, told the San Francisco Chronicle Saturday.
Yet an Orinda city council meeting held Tuesday night revealed that not everyone is in favor of slamming the door on Airbnb.
Some local Airbnb hosts who were in attendance opposed drastic action, with one citing the platform as a critical source of income for her mother.
Orinda already had a law the books that required property owners to register with the city if they plan to rent a room or home for less than 30 days, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Existing municipal regulations also didn’t allow for more than 13 guests in short-term rentals of the size where the shooting took place, the Los Angeles Times reported. (More than 100 attended the party, according to the police.)
As of Monday, police had not made any arrests in connection with the shooting at the Airbnb rental, according to USA Today. The Orinda city police department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with comments from Orinda, Calif.’s mayor, Inga Miller.