Anaheim short-term rentals spark concerns

Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Anaheim short-term rentals spark concerns
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A battle is brewing in Anaheim. Monday, residents and hotel workers gathered to protest short-term rentals.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- A battle is brewing in Anaheim. Monday, residents and hotel workers gathered to protest short-term rentals like Airbnb.

Short-term rentals have impassioned Anaheim residents in the last few years.

"The STR has to stop completely," said Mike Eveland, an Anaheim resident.

"These houses do not belong in a residential neighborhood. That's not what the neighborhoods are designed for," said Jeanine Robbins.

A coalition of longtime residents and hotel workers gathered to express their concern over the recent boom in short-term rentals, or STRs, in their neighborhoods. Hundreds of family-style homes and condos have been converted into vacation property in the past few years.

"They make the neighborhood look nice from the street. They're very well landscaped and very well maintained," said Elizabeth Bower, an Anaheim resident.

Some residents say tourists aren't always the best neighbors.

Maggie Bolton is upset over short-term rentals.

"It invades our privacy," said Bolton. "We don't feel comfortable. We don't know what kind of people are going to rent the home. They're looking over our yards."

Many have cited a concern for safety. Others complain about the traffic.

The city confirms all rental property owners have to pay tourism tax, and they rely on residents to report noise complaints, parking or building violations.

"Anaheim is a great residential community but it's also a tourist community, and these are options for those traveling to our city," said Ruth Diaz with Anaheim City Hall.

The Anaheim City Council is looking for a compromise. Since issuing a 45-day moratorium on short-term rental permits, they will vote Tuesday night on whether to extend that to six months.

Rental property owners Eyewitness News talked to off camera say this is being blown out of proportion. But undoubtedly the landscape of these established neighborhoods is changing, with some selling their homes above market value to new buyers with their sights set on homes away from home.

"It's kind of heartbreaking to see people just leave without a care of who is going to purchase the house and what kind of neighbors the rest of us are left with," said Bower.