Residents in Long Beach’s normally quiet College Estates neighborhood are pushing the city to do something about a home being used for short-term rentals that they say is a magnet for loud parties, disruptive visitors and even violent crime.
Neighbors who spoke with the Long Beach Post said problems started about a year ago when the homeowner started using sites like Airbnb, Vrbo or PeerSpace to rent out his house on Kallin Avenue for as little as $50 an hour.
Since then, neighbors say they’ve seen renters frequently throwing parties, openly using drugs and illegally shutting down the block so they could record videos in the street
On Tuesday, the situation escalated when someone was shot.
Nicole Simmons, who lives in the neighborhood with her husband and two children, was at home when she heard someone outside yelling for help. Simmons said she saw a gunman outside standing over a man on the ground. When the man got up, the gunman shot him in the rear end, Simmons said.
The gunman then picked up the spent casing from his gun and got into a car driven by someone else, she said. The victim, leaving a trail of blood behind, went into a neighboring home asking for help.
Police said the wounded man was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive. The gunman has not been arrested.
In the wake of the shooting, “I don’t feel safe in our own house,” Simmons said.
The situation could have ended much worse, according to neighbors, who said several children were playing outside when the shooting happened around 10:30 p.m.
“We just need the Airbnb to go,” said Simmons, who said she’s complained to the home’s owner but hasn’t gotten any resolution. A man listed as the owner did not respond when contacted by the Long Beach Post.
Fourth District Councilmember Daryl Supernaw, who represents College Estates, said he’s been trying to help fix the problem since before the shooting when residents were complaining about the parties and unruly guests, but the process may be slow.
“There are just a lot of moving parts within the city to address issues with a short-term rental property,” Supernaw said. “It’s pretty complicated in terms of the law.”
Supernaw said he may look at strengthening the city’s current ordinance on short-term rentals to prevent homes from being rented out for just a few hours at a time.
In the meantime, his office is trying to get the College Estates house pulled off sites like Airbnb and Peerspace by telling their operators about the shooting and other issues.
Supernaw said he and a representative from the Long Beach Police Department also met with neighbors Thursday evening for roughly two hours.
“We wanted to make sure they knew we are listening,” Supernaw said.
On Monday, residents plan to meet with Supernaw and other city departments, including special events, which handles filming permits, and code enforcement.
Meanwhile, Supernaw encouraged residents in his district to contact his office for any related issues.
“In this case, we really want to give the neighbors immediate relief so they can feel secure in their homes,” Supernaw said.
Supernaw’s office can be reached at [email protected] or 562-570-4444.