Concerns raised over Airbnb rentals in Elm City - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Concerns raised over Airbnb rentals in Elm City

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Residents are raising concerns over Airbnb rentals in New Haven (WFSB) Residents are raising concerns over Airbnb rentals in New Haven (WFSB)

Popular services like Airbnb offer a cheaper alternative to hotels, but some people are now concerned about its impact on neighborhoods.

There are homes and rooms being rented all over New Haven and in most cases you wouldn't even know, but in some instances, neighbors say it’s affecting their quality of life.  

"Different people, a lot of foot traffic, strange people, that I haven't seen I know most of my neighbors,” said Evangelio Franco, of New Haven.

Franco, who has lived in the upper Westville neighborhood for 25 years, said he noticed a lot of traffic coming from a house on the corner of Lawncrest Road and Greenhill Terrace, being used for a short-term rental, while it's for sale.

"This is a single family, single homes neighborhood and when you start making changes, putting more than one family, the neighborhood changes, and sometimes it’s not for the best,” Franco said.

According to Alder Darryl Brackeen Jr. it’s an issue on the radar of every alder in the city, adding that last year there were more than 11,000 Airbnb rentals in New Haven.

"We're not trying to take away anyone's right on what they would like to do on their personal property. But we need to ensure that if there is going to be business conducting in this way in residential neighborhoods, that we continue to sustain the neighborhood quality of life,” Brackeen Jr. said.

Brackeen Jr. says neighbors came to him with their concerns, specifically, noise, traffic, speeding cars and trash.  

Its why he's working on an ordinance amendment dealing specifically with short-term rentals with folks turning their homes into hotels.
Right now in New Haven there are no specific regulations.

"It’s a sharing economy and this is quite new and different,” Brackeen Jr. said.

The city says it’s looking to come up with rules, but wants to do it right, adding it doesn't want to end up in court.

Last December, Airbnb settled a lawsuit it filed against New York City, challenging a law that would call for fines when someone illegally listed a property.
Airbnb dropped the suit after New York City said it would only enforce the law on hosts and not fine Airbnb.

For its part, Airbnb warns users in its term of conditions to be aware of local zoning laws and regulations.

"There are some cities that have had successes and many failures. Here in New Haven we're looking to strike a balance to ensure that residents who are engaging in these short-term rentals are abiding by the codes and regulations that any other person would have to abide by in the city,” Brackeen Jr. said.

He added that this is just the beginning, adding there will be workshops and public hearings so the city can hear from all parties involved.

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