Most interactions between short-term rental users and residents are cordial, but the potential for situations turning ugly also exists.
In Mission Beach on Saturday, June 13, Greg Knight and his Isthmus Court neighbor confronted short-term renters at a nearby short-term rental unit looking for who had parked in Knight’s neighbor’s spot.
“It was about midnight and my neighbor and I were going around house-to-house,” said Knight, who sustained a broken nose during the encounter. “Finally, we were going to push the car out into the red zone and call for a tow truck. It was then that two guys came out of a party and (allegedly) started going berserk.”
Knight claims one of the guys hit him on the side of his head, and kept on punching. “I had blood all over myself, dripping from head to toe. They all ran back into the vacation rental. The next morning they were all gone.”
Knight said he felt lucky because it could have been a lot worse. That same night, there had been a knifing earlier nearby at Belmont Park, where a 50-year-old victim had been stabbed repeatedly by a suspect following a verbal argument.
“All the police were dealing with the stabbings,” said Knight. “A bunch of people called 911 when it was happening and they responded that unless it was a life-threatening evacuation, they would not be able to get down to Mission Beach.”
Added Knight: “The street looked like July 4th after the fireworks with traffic. Police showed up around 5 a.m. to make a report.”
In hindsight, Knight noted: “We should have gotten a photo of the car and the license plate, but we didn't. I would have a very hard time picking the people out of a lineup.”
Knight said what happened to him underscores the worsening problem of accountability with STRs.
“The real issue is how many times any given night, specifically weekend nights, we are forced to go approach a vacation rental to let them know that the community has rules,” he said. “Each time we go up to these rentals we never know who or what type of person we are approaching. While some are appreciative and say they will be good, others have told me to [buzz] off. Many simply ignore us and continue with the party.”
Pointed out Knight: “The police are completely unresponsive to coming to these STR issues unless it is so out of control that immediate danger is happening just from their party. Most times when the police are called they show up two to six hours later when the party has calmed down or gone.”
Knight noted residents have just a few options: Staying inside and trying to ignore the problem; calling the police and hoping they show in time; calling mostly absentee management companies to respond, or trying to reason with renters personally.
“Every time someone comes in, it is a potential issue,” said Knight. “Do you call the police at 2 a.m. when they are out on the patio with a case of beer … probably not. However, how long do you wait before deciding that the situation has gotten out of hand? We can see it coming from a long way away, but with no management oversight, it is only when it is truly out of hand that it gets reported. If a manager was on-site, the number of problems would greatly be reduced.
“This is a huge problem that I have been trying to get people to acknowledge for years,” concluded Knight.