ST. LOUIS — St. Louis city leaders are working with Airbnb to crack down on short-term rentals that may create safety problems, especially downtown.
While Airbnbs allow travelers to have fun, authorities said some short-term rentals can be a nightmare when loud parties and rude behavior are involved.
The Downtown Engagement and Public Safety Initiative addressed these concerns during its weekly meeting on Monday and announced the city would be tackling short-term rental problems.
“We know that people are using short-term rentals at times to get increasingly creative to have some events that have worked against us on public safety,” said Jason Hall, the CEO of Greater St. Louis Inc.
Ben Breit, Airbnb’s director of trust and safety communications, also reiterated the company is committed to preventing people from renting out Airbnbs to throw parties.
“Any host who is allowing parties in their properties does not belong in Airbnb, and they don’t deserve to be operating as a short-term rental host in the city of St. Louis,” said Breit during Monday’s meeting.
The initiative to crack down on problem rentals comes after three teens were shot and killed in apartments in downtown St. Louis earlier this year.
On March 12, police responded to the Ely Walker Lofts in the 1500 block of Washington Ave after a 16-year-old boy was shot and killed in the lobby of the building. Authorities said someone rented out one of the units to throw a large birthday party at the time.
On March 25, a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old were shot and killed at the Cupples Station Loft Apartments. The family had rented an apartment unit to celebrate a birthday party. They said the shooting was accidental. Authorities said it was being investigated as a murder-suicide.
City leaders want to send a strong message to owners and renters that they have zero tolerance for this behavior.
“We know it’s not just parties, but I think we have found that it’s the majority,” said Breit. “We’re not going to tolerate parties. We’re going to continue to ban parties, and we’re going to work with the stakeholders here to get to the bottom of this.”
Officials said they will remove rental listings if numerous complaints are filed against the property.