Residents in one midtown Tulsa neighborhood want vacation rental properties to be banned there, after a recent shooting at an AirBnB.
Residents tell News on 6 they've had enough with rental homes in this neighborhood. Now they are asking renters and the city to make changes.
MC Swab lives only blocks away where shots were fired last week.
"It was terrifying," Swab recalled.
Police said the group responsible was renting a nearby Airbnb. Nobody was hurt, but many cars and houses were damaged. Swab believes the home attracts trouble because it offers one-night rentals at a low fee.
"We're trying to rectify that as a neighborhood and try to figure how to make these short-term renters longer or ban them completely, because its obviously devaluing our neighborhood and obviously affecting our safety," Swab said.
Swab also added that a group of neighbors gathered Tuesday evening to meet with the Airbnb owner, but the owner failed to show up.
Kathryn Lyons manages the "Tulsa Midtown Neighbors" Facebook page and said residents have had several issues in the past with short-term rentals.
"This particular issue has been a hot button," Lyons said. "There are city ordinances put into place that they need to follow and that is not happening."
The city started requiring licenses for short-term rental properties in July. The city also said the owner of home involved in the shooting removed its short-term rental listing.
There are three other STR's in the Sunset Terrace Subdivision. As of today, there are 141 registered STR's in compliance with the new ordinances. There are 235 non-compliant STR's currently identified and an additional 115 non-compliant STR's being researched to identify the address and parties involved.
The agent who manages the Airbnb sent us a statement last week saying,
“We are horrified and extremely upset that this happened, especially at our property and in a neighborhood where we enjoyed living for five years and where several of our friends currently live. We fully understand our neighbor’s concerns.
We were out of town the night of the reservation. After receiving a call from a neighbor that a party was occurring, we contacted our property manager who notified the police of the disturbance and drove past the property. When driving past the property, it wasn’t evident there was a party still occurring, and our neighbor similarly let us know that it looked like most of the cars had left at that point (We had sent a message to the guest via Airbnb that the police had been notified of the party). The detective currently working on the case told us the police department did not send anyone to the house that night due to a COVID policy. We didn’t hear anything else until the next morning when neighbors noticed the damage to their property.
We have hosted more than 2,000 stays at this property without any issues or neighbor complaints. It has always been important to us that our guests are respectful of our neighbors. We follow the maximum upfront requirements to screen our guests and mitigate parties: Guests must have a profile photo, government issued ID and positive recommendations from other hosts as well as must agree to the house rules, which include a limited guest count, no parties, and a limited number of cars/request to park cars in the driveway. In no way did we imagine this kind of incident would occur. We are inquiring about additional ways to further help protect our property and neighbors, as well as looking into longer term leases as a solution.
We are working closely with the detective investigating this case and have been in contact with Airbnb and our neighbors about what we can do at this point.”
The city said any person found to be in violation of the Licensing Code (Title 21) can be charged with a fine of up to $500 and/or 90 days in the City Jail. Any person found to be in violation of the Zoning Code (Title 42) can be charged with a fine of up to $1,200 and/or up to 6 months in the City Jail. Any STR with three or more sustained complaints in any 12-month period can be subject to revocation of the STR License.
Lyons wants the city to require additional background checks, and demands the owner to pay for damages. "They need to be good stewards of their neighbors, if they can't do that then they shouldn't own these properties because it's never going to work," Lyons admitted.
Police are still investigating the shooting, and residents said they are working to set up meetings with the homeowner's association and the city.
Residents wanting to make a report about possible noncompliance can do so through a 24-hour STR Complaint Hotline. The hotline number is (918) 248-9148. A web complaint form is also available at www.cityoftulsa.org/str.