Nightmare Neighbors: Short-term rentals causing problems in some Tampa Bay area communities

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The short-term rental market is exploding and blowing up the sanctity of a lot of neighborhoods too.

People are renting out their homes and some of the renters are turning into nightmare neighbors.

There are nearly 75,000 short-term listings in Florida right now. The top cities where people are renting most in Florida are Kissimmee, Miami and Miami Beach. St. Pete comes in at number seven on that list.

Of all the rentals, in all the cities, in all the world, it only takes one bad one to turn a quiet area into a nightmare neighborhood.

That was the case for a home in Tierra Verde.

For the better part of a year, neighbors living near the house on 7th Street East, had a major issue with what went on both inside and outside these walls.

“It was bad. It was bad for a year and half. Every weekend,” said Jack and Gaye Wurzbacher, who lives across the canal.

The Wurzbacher’s called Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputies over and over again because of the noise. “The parties would start about 4 in the afternoon on Thursday or Friday and they would end Sunday morning about 11 am,” they said.

Records show the 19-year-old, million dollar waterfront home is owned by Land Trust Capital. But it’s rented out.

The Wurzbacher’s said the current renters are great, they keep it down. But before that, the guy who rented the house turned around and rented it out to others, and those constantly changing renters were the problem.

“We’re talking loud vulgar, cursing,  the girls, drugs, it was really out of control.” Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputies checked in at the home more than 250 times during one year.

Across the bay at a home in South Tampa, the problem that neighbors encountered was traffic.

The $3.5 million waterfront property is located off Homer Street.

Frank May lives just up the street. He was extremely annoyed when a party was held at the home recently. There were cars everywhere.

“They parked partially in front of it. It was very frustrating. My neighbors were frustrated because some of them were blocked,” May said.

Experts said the biggest three problems with short-term rentals through companies like Airbnb, HomeAway, or  Craigslist  are traffic, trash and  noise.

“This explosion of short-term rentals has created an environment where we need some new rules for the road,” said Dave Kraus, CEO of Noise Aware.

He started his company after his own rental noise problem, one that cost him a $30,000 fine.

So, he developed a company that monitors noise.

“If the noise breaches that threshold and if the noise reaches that level, they’ll be notified in a friendly reminder-style way, to let their guests know this is a quiet neighborhood,” Kraus said.

So, what can you do if you live next to a rental with a nightmare neighbor?

Kraus said Airbnb and HomeAway have 1-800 numbers for neighbors to call.

Or you can do what the Tierra Verde residents did, just call the cops.

Here are the customer care numbers-

  • Home Away 1-877-228-3145 or 512-782-0805.
  • Airbnb 1-855-424-7262 or 415-800-5959

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