Investigation: Will Fresno regulate Airbnb type rentals?

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Fresno, California – Airbnb is transforming the travel industry. In Fresno residents say they’re concerned about what Airbnb operations could mean for their neighborhoods, allowing homeowners to rent out rooms and even their entire house. These short term rentals have sparked new city ordinances across the state, but Fresno city leaders haven’t made any decisions yet. Investigative Reporter Patrick Nelson shows us why has this become an issue.

In a northeast Fresno neighborhood people say they’ve seen more traffic, trash, and random people. They feel it’s put a strain on parking and even safety here. They’re pointing the finger at one of these homes which is now a short term vacation rental operated through Airbnb.

“My question to you, are the mayor and city council members going to develop some common sense codes and guidelines for Airbnbs like Clovis did?,” said Fresno resident Timothy Nolt to the Fresno City Council.

This after weeks of frustration from what he says are the impacts of a nearby home being operated as an Airbnb short term vacation home in his northeast Fresno neighborhood.

“As these houses sell in here it’s families coming in with kids again and they cannot be out playing in the street when one of those is going full boar over there. They can’t. Cars come flying in and they just aren’t used to driving in this type of neighborhood,” said Nolt.

Nolt says his neighbor’s home is being rented out on a nightly basis and is advertised to accommodate up to ten people.

“There’s no parking and there’s noise all night long, cars coming and going that sort of thing and I live one house between me and them and I heard a loud boom. Not a gunshot, but just a boom and I stuck my head outside and there was all this laughing and giggling and partying going on,” said Nolt.

Over in Clovis police officers got similar complaints about Airbnb rentals in their area last year.

“Excessive vehicles in the front driveway, trash, beer bottles,” said Clovis City Planner Lando Ramirez.

Ramirez advised the Clovis City Council who approved a tax and these new guidelines for short term home rentals like Airbnb.

“You can rent out one room, or several rooms in your residence as long as you have adequate parking on site. It requires a home occupation permit, it requires that you notify area property owners within ten days of receiving that application, we require that you make sure your neighbors are aware that there’s a home occupation permit in the area and that it’s not going to be detrimental to area properties,” said Ramirez.

In Clovis police officers say this new ordinance virtually eliminated the calls about Airbnbs.

Meanwhile, in our research we learned out of the top ten California cities based on population Fresno is the only city not to regulate short term vacation rentals like Airbnb.

Both the Fresno Police Department and Fresno city leaders tell me at this point they aren’t aware of any major problems with Airbnb rentals in the city.

Clovis city leaders say after speaking with us they’re ready to help if Fresno reaches out.

“I would like to send over our ordinance to the City of Fresno so they have a starting point,” said Ramirez.

Real estate expert and instructor at Fresno City College Gary Carter says Fresno is taking a risk if they wait too long to address Airbnbs.

“We’re going to have to get some regulation. We’re going to have to get some ordinance involved before it gets on the wildside,” said Carter.

Nolt and his neighbors will have to wait and see what Fresno city leaders do, reminding them what’s at stake.

“I can just about bet you the property values will fall when these AirBNBs go in here. Nobody is going to want to move in here and have this confusion going on,” said Nolt.

Off camera we spoke with the man who is renting out his home through Airbnb in Nolt’s neighborhood. He says he’s doing it to help pay off bills from a recent medical emergency and he wouldn’t be opposed to some common sense regulation if it made neighbors feel better.

The Fresno City Council will meet again on August 30th and many people living out here will be watching closely to see if they address the presence of Airbnbs.

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