St. Louis City Airbnb hosts push back on proposed bill to regulate renting operations

ST. LOUIS - A proposal meant to regulate Airbnb operations within St. Louis City, is getting push back.

It comes after some neighbors complained about noise, parking problems and what they say, are strangers living next door.

Greg Clawson OF St. Louis Hills said that he moved to the area for some peace and quiet. But added that some people who stay in nearby Airbnb properties have not been the best of neighbors.

“We’ve had parking issues which I guess sounds silly because it’s a public street,” Clawson said, “but you have less parking because they are paying for a business that they refuse to park in front of, for a house, they are paying to go to.”

Clawson said that he isn’t against the business of home sharing but prefers that there be some city-imposed rules to regulate such operations.

“It is a business and you’re paying for it so you should have to go through the venues that normal people do like having a restaurant,” said Clawson.

In a phone interview with Fox 2, Alderman Tom Oldenburg said, Clawson’s concerns are similar to some of the complaints he’s received.

“We have been over the last few years receiving complaints and one would argue that those are likely isolated incidents,” said Oldenburg, “bachelor parties, parking, noise complaints.”

“If they are operating as a hotel they should probably be taxed along those lines. There needs to be an annual inspection at a minimum, to make sure that there’s a general welfare and safety for the guests.”

Airbnb host Greg Elder said the proposal would impose unreasonable restrictions on the rights of hosts and homeowners to share their homes via platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway.

“People are scared of what they don’t know and if they don’t understand it then they fear it,” said Elder speaking at one of his Dutchtown properties on Chippewa Avenue. “So, if you think someone is moving in next door for the weekend but you don’t know they have been reviewed by countless other hosts in other cities and are quality people, then they might be scared.”

Wednesday night Elder along with several other hosts gathered to discuss their opposition to the proposed bill.

“We are trying to work with the city to come up with sensible regulations for us because we think we can regulate ourselves,” he said.

Elder added that the group is also working on a new program to install a host ambassador in every neighborhood in St. Louis, with the purpose of having a central representative to speak on behalf of local hosts and communicate with policymakers.

The Board of Aldermen will come back from recess this spring to have a few more public hearings on the proposed bill.

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