Stunned by the beating of a Florida man attacked during a party at an Orinda home rented through Airbnb, the city council is taking a hard look at so-called “transient” housing arrangements, and evaluating how they should be handled in future.
The council, spurred by Mayor Victoria Smith, queried adjacent cities and towns after the 21-year-old suffered serious injuries in an altercation outside an Airbnb party home on Camino Encinas Feb. 13. The city is looking for insight on how other towns and cities are dealing with the “tech disrupt” approach to short-term rentals in their areas.
The Feb. 13 incident, during which two Orinda officers arrived to find the victim on the ground and “20 to 30” partygoers going in different directions, has put a spotlight on the issue of local homes being made available for short-term lease to anyone able to come up with the money.
Neighbors said the Camino Encinas home was advertised through Airbnb for roughly $875-a-night and paid for in cash by the party’s “hosts,” with partiers descending on the neighborhood Friday night. The as-yet unnamed victim, beaten in an altercation with another partygoer, was found in a nearby parking lot as police arrived to find a confusing scene – eventually calling for help from neighboring agencies to help regain control.
Eventually, investigators were called in from the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s office due to the severity of the beating and injuries suffered by the victim. Total cost for an investigation which shut down the neighborhood for approximately four hours was set at $9,000.
After the incident, Orinda city staff conducted a search to determine the number of active Airbnb listings in Orinda, Sausalito, Lafayette, and Petaluma, finding that Orinda currently has about 34 active Airbnb rentals available – of which 60 percent are for a room rental only.
No pertinent data could be found for Moraga, Piedmont, or Danville – which banned similar rental arrangements in their town shortly after the Orinda incident without citing the case directly.
Information accumulated by city staff and submitted to the council for review at their regularly scheduled meeting April 12, is “intended to serve as a starting point for the City Council to begin discussions regarding regulating short-term rentals,” staff wrote.