The owner of a roughly 4,000-square-foot Glendale home advertised as “party central” on Airbnb.com, an online vacation rental platform, has agreed to stop renting the house specifically for parties after having six festivities shut down by Glendale police since October.
City attorneys are also reviewing possible solutions to similar party houses that may crop up in the future, said city spokesman Tom Lorenz.
“You tend to see [these problems] in those cities that become destination points and, frankly, Glendale is becoming one of those popular places to go to,” Lorenz said.
But popularity can bring unwanted consequences.
Neighbors of the so-called “party house” in the Glenwood community — known as a quiet, family-oriented area — said the constant partying in the 1300 block of Norton Avenue was interfering with their sleep at 2 a.m. They’d find beer bottles in the street, people fighting on the sidewalk in the early morning hours, parking clogged and loud music blaring.
“First, I felt angry, mad and then after a few parties, you feel kind of like helpless, you can’t do anything,” said Andrew Gorgyan, who lives next door to the party house.
The listing advertising the house on Airbnb.com, which was taken down this week, described the house as an “entertainer’s outdoor paradise” fit with Jacuzzi, pool, a gazebo and an “exclusive estate” that could accommodate up to 200 people for “weddings and receptions, retreats, reunions, surprise parties or whatever you can imagine!”
In a city dedicated to quality-of-life issues, mixing entertainment spaces with residential neighborhoods has long been a point of controversy. Residents have fought against the opening of new banquet halls near their neighborhoods and the city has laws specifically tailored to the commercial establishments.
Pam Ellis, a Glenwood resident, likened renting one’s house out for parties as a way for people to get around banquet hall rules.
“It’s unbelievable,” Ellis said. “How can somebody run a commercial establishment on our street?”
Frank Higginbotham, who lives across the street from the party house, said he saw tour buses with about 30 people pull up to the house about two weeks ago for a party.
Earlier in December, there was one party that had to be shut down using a powerful spotlight from a hovering police helicopter and several police officers.
“This was like a war zone,” he said, adding that parties have been going on every weekend for months. “Every night I came home, I was scared to think about what I was going to find here.”
This isn’t the first time communities have clashed with Airbnb.com rentals. In Silver Lake, the popularity of Airbnb sparked heated Neighborhood Council meetings as some feared the prevalence of short-term rentals was negatively affecting their community atmosphere.
Mikey, the owner of Greenfield Properties, which was listing the local house on Airbnb.com, said after so many complaints from neighbors and police, he decided to take down the party house listing and solely rent the location as a vacation rental.
As of Thursday, the party house listing was off the site, but the location was still being advertised for short-term stays from $150 to $280 a night. Mikey, who wouldn’t give his last name because he said he feared for his safety, said he was surprised by the volume of complaints.
He said his employees would tell renters they had to be quiet after midnight, but one previous client wrote a nasty review on Airbnb.com in November stating that their party was shut down by police by 12:30 a.m. even though the property manager said they could have late parties.
The property is co-owned by Loeiz Rafisiman, a Beverly Hills real estate agent, who said she had a one-year lease with Greenfield Properties. Rafisiman empathized with the neighbors because she wouldn’t want constant parties by her house, but she added that the parties weren’t her fault — they were the property manager’s doing.
But she said she is looking for a long-term tenant that won’t rent the house out to vacationers.
“We are taking control of this situation,” Rafisiman said. “But it takes time. It won’t happen overnight.”
Although Mikey has promised to not rent the house out for parties — and is scheduled to meet with city officials again next week — neighbors say they’ll believe it when they see it.
Other cities have created ordinances to curb issues with short-term rentals. Big Bear requires city licensing and inspection of such establishments and a 16-person maximum occupancy.
However, Glendale City Councilwoman Laura Friedman said although renting out a house solely for parties is unacceptable in the community, city officials shouldn’t make a knee-jerk reaction to the situation.
“This is the first problem that I have heard of involving an Airbnb rental,” she said. “I know it’s done many times without any impact.”
Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.
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