ORINDA (KPIX) — The large party at an Orinda AirBnB rental house should have never taken place according to a two-year-old short-term rental ordinance which bans large parties of more than 13 people, according to city officials.
“There are going to be folks who don’t follow the rules. Unfortunately, that’s the way the world works,” said Steve Salomon, Orinda city manager.
Since February, the city received three complaints from neighbors of noise, trash and parking violations related to large parties at the home, the latest coming at 9:35 Thursday night, about an hour before the shooting.
The city says it tried to work with the owner instead of cracking down.
“The short answer is they were not fined,” said Salomon, who says the city prefers to work with property owners to bring them into compliance.
Orinda’s mayor said the city is dealing with tragedy but will take up potential new restrictions on short-term rentals next Tuesday.
“Whether they should be banned, whether they should have new restrictions would really depend on a discussion by the city council,” said mayor Inga Miller.
According to an Associated Press report, a woman who rented the home lied when telling the owner that she needed the house for her family to get away from wildfire smoke because they have asthma.
“The AirBnB concept, as I understand it, will lease to just about anybody,” said Myron Von Raesfeld, who rents and manages 145 properties in Santa Clara County.
He says there are few if any safeguards for keeping bad actors out of a home in an online transaction.
“As long as you have a method of payment and an email address, they’ll rent to you,” he said.
Most traditional landlords require background checks, credit checks and rental histories.
“Most property owners will stay away from tenants that have bad histories. In the internet world, I don’t know that they have a way for checking that,” Von Raesfeld said.
As for the house on Lucille Way, Orinda says its days as a short-term rental may be over.
“We’ve asked AirBnB and Booking.com to remove it from their sites,” Mr. Salomon said.