Living Next Door to a House Party That Never Ends

house party

Confession time: I’ve been to parties hosted in houses rented through Airbnb.

I’ve hosted parties in houses I’ve rented through Airbnb.

Of course, since my idea of a wild night is pouring Fireball whisky into brownie mix, the party I helped host included hardcore, noisy activities like “making pizza” and “watching a movie.” (I do realize that my concept of what makes a good party has not changed since I was about nine years old.)

And yes, in an economy where many city-dwellers can only ever expect to live in an apartment that’s slightly larger than a Kasita, the first thing you’re going to want to do, when you rent a space that’s large enough to hold more than three or four people, is throw a party.

So there are people who rent out Airbnbs specifically as “party homes.” They’re the houses with beds jammed into every corner to accommodate as many guests as possible. And, as the NYT reports, they are causing problems for next-door neighbors:

Emmy Jodoin lives next door to [an Austin Airbnb party house] with her family. “It is loud, and there is live music and karaoke stuff, and it’s all done outside because of the pool,” she said. “They’re out in front at 4 in the afternoon waiting for their Uber to come, drunk on the front lawn.”

Homeowners had other complaints about guests, including trash bins overflowing with beer cans, public urination, catcalling, foul language, racist remarks, companies throwing events and the appearance of a rainbow-colored painted pony. “Sometimes, when they are outside, they’re playing beer pong just wearing their underwear,” said Hazel Oldt, age 11, who can see them next door from the third-floor rooftop garden of her house.

That bit about companies throwing events is really interesting. Why Airbnb and not hotels? Is it a cost-saver? Is it to encourage team bonding by asking 12 people to sleep on cots and share a bathroom? Does it have something to do with the rainbow-colored painted pony?

And yes, obviously if there’s public urination and other violations going on, that’s a problem. But there’s another underlying problem here: residents are worried that living next to an Airbnb party house will lower their property values.

So, as the NYT explains, you’ve got services like Airbnb and Vroo who claim that “renting out one’s home on a short-term basis [is] a fundamental right”—and you’ve got homeowners arguing “we did not buy our house to be living next to a hotel.”

The NYT’s solution?

But every other home buyer ought to be searching Airbnb, HomeAway and similar sites for listings that are close to a home that they’re considering buying.

That feels a little unsatisfactory. What do you think the solution should be? Eliminate party homes completely, even if it’s just eight or nine people getting together to hang out? Call the cops every time a rainbow-colored painted pony shows up in the yard? Say “this is what the world is like now, so you have to find a way to deal with it?”

I’ll tell you that I don’t want the convenience—and the joy, honestly—of being able to share a home with a bunch of friends to disappear. I’m also one of those people who will think “well, my friends and I won’t bother the neighbors,” and assume my parties will be fine.

But I can also see the neighbors’ point of view: another line of cars on the street, the door opening and closing to let more people in, wondering if this is going to be a night where everything’s okay, or a night where they’ll have to remain on alert to what’s going on at the party house.

What do you think we should do here?

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