Neighbors in South Davis speak out about Airbnb concerns

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DAVIS, Calif. (KTXL) — A recent protest over problems at an Airbnb in a South Davis neighborhood may lead to establishing tighter regulations on short term rentals in the city.

A campaign by a half-dozen homeowners in and around the cul-de-sac at Calmia Place hopes to reign in a house that is advertised on the popular online marketplace for lodging.

The campaign brought up issues like illegal parking, excessive noise and disturbances that required intervention by police.

“It’s like living next to a motel,” said homeowner Jack Clark who has lived in the neighborhood for 36 years.

Neighbors said Airbnb guests can check-in as late as midnight and often slam car doors and trunks and sometimes knock or ring doorbells at the wrong house late at night.

Neighbors said they feel anxious about seeing the constant flow of strangers and their dogs that are often off-leash as they roam the neighborhood.

The Airbnb advertises as many as three separate ‘dog-friendly’ units.

The city did not have strict rules on short-time rentals, wanting to encourage a then-new entry into the gig economy.

Several years ago it did make an agreement to collect an occupancy tax that nets the city around $185,000 a year.

A staff report on Tuesday’s city council agenda asks council members if it wants to tighten restrictions saying the problems at Calmia Place are not common.

Some options are restricting the number of occupants at the short-term rental, setting the number of days they can operate, requiring the owner to be present when units are occupied, requiring special licenses and inspections, and even banning them from primarily residential neighborhoods altogether.

The protesting neighbors said space in the house was once rented on a long term basis, often to grad students attending the University of California, Davis.

Neighbors had no problems with the arrangement but complained that converting the house into an Airbnb takes away much-needed housing stock from the Davis market.

One option is for the city council to do nothing and enforce nuisance ordinances already on the books.

Homeowner rules, known as Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions or CC&Rs, ban rentals in the neighborhood, but the city does not enforce those rules and neighbors have been told they would have to hire an attorney out of their own pockets to enforce them.

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