In Wake of Shooting, Orinda City Council Passes Urgency Ordinance Banning Non-Hosted Short-Term-Rentals

In the wake of the death of five people at a party at an Airbnb rental in their city last Thursday night, Orinda City Council members late Tuesday night voted in favor of an urgency ordinance banning all non-hosted short-term rentals.

The 45-day moratorium is expected to formally take effect Nov. 19, and the council will continue to discuss possible permanent changes to the city's rules on short-term rentals.

Meanwhile, Airbnb said Wednesday it is vowing to verify all 7 million of its listings. CEO Brian Chesky pledged that by December of next year, every home and host on Airbnb will have been reviewed. He said that includes checking for accuracy of photos and verifying that hosts are who they say they are.

Orinda's previous rules for operating short-term rental properties were fairly typical. Since October 2017, the City of Orinda has required owners of short-term rental properties to register with the city. Those owners are required to pay 8.5 percent of that rental income to the city, via quarterly payments.

The maximum occupancy of any space used for short-term rental was two people per bedroom plus three other people.

Some cities and towns, including Danville, ban short-term rentals entirely. Others, such as Sunnyvale, allow such rentals only if the property owners remain on-site.

On Saturday, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said his firm is enacting new measures to ban "party houses" from that platform, including expanding manual screening of high-risk reservations flagged by its risk-detection technology; creating a dedicated "party house" rapid response team, and taking immediate action against users who violate Airbnb polices against having too many people in a given rental property.

These moves come in direct response to Thursday night's shootings that killed five guests at "secret mansion party" that attracted more than 100 guests.

Meanwhile, an attorney for the owners of the home where the shooting took place released a statement late Tuesday:

"The owners of 114 Lucille Way, Orinda are deeply concerned about the tragedy that occurred last Thursday night in Orinda and at the house they own. They are shocked at what occurred, and share the same sorrow that the Orinda community feels. The owners will not be conducting any future short-term rentals at their property, they have cancelled all their November Airbnb bookings, and they will not be renewing their short-term rental registration when it comes up for renewal in mid-November."

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