Orinda changes short-term rental rules following deadly Halloween shooting

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

ORINDA, Calif. (KGO) -- If you rent your house in Orinda on a short term basis, such as with Airbnb, as the host, you will now have to also live on the property while your guest stays there.

It's one of several changes voted on at Tuesday night's city council meeting.

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"Having the host on the property is beneficial because it helps control what's going on with the rental," explains Drummond Buckley, the city's planning director.

The new urgency ordinance, which passed unanimously, comes after five people were shot and killed on October 31 at a Halloween party hosted at an Airbnb property.

It mandates that a host of short term rental must sleep and eat meals on the property and that any listing must use specific language to explain these city requirements. It was the least restricted of the two proposals.

Those opposed to the changes, call the changes "arbitrary" and "unfair."

"I have objections that folks would stay in the same structure as their guests. I think that is objectionable to most people," says Sarah Young, who is an Airbnb host in Orinda.

By the city's own admission, even with the new rules, enforcement will be a problem.

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"Because there are still folks will operate these things or attempt to operate them in what would be an illegal way," says City Manager Steve Salomon.

Bob Weiss has lived in Orinda for more than 20 years. He believes short term renters are disrupting the sense of community and safety. He fully supports the changes.

"Airbnb cannot protect us. Until (the city) devise a way that they can protect residents of the neighborhood were Airbnbs are, we need to have protections," says Weiss.

The city has up to two years to come up with a final policy. They are also going to reach out to state lawmakers to do more to pass laws at the state level.