After another shooting, neighbors and Airbnb owners speak out regarding St. Louis’ plans to regulate short term rentals

Along Kingshighway across from Tower Grove Park neighbors have put up signs that read, "Neighborhoods are for neighbors, not short term rentals.”
Published: Jun. 12, 2023 at 10:14 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Along Kingshighway across from Tower Grove Park, red signs catch the eyes of drivers. They read, “Neighborhoods are for neighbors, not short term rentals.”

The signs were put up by neighbors of an Airbnb who say they’ve experienced numerous issues.

“It’s unsafe. It’s hard not knowing who’s pulling up at any hour of the night,” said Steve Pona, who’s lived off Kingshighway for 20 years. Next door to his home is an AirBnb listed as a “Large House w/ Baby Suite, Fenced Yard & Garage.”

He says there have been parties and other problems. Parties are one of the biggest complaints regarding short-term rentals in the City of St. Louis. Police are investigating a shooting Sunday afternoon that left a 23-year-old seriously injured after investigators say he was leaving a party at an Airbnb in the Shaw neighborhood. It happened on Castleman.

After a teenager died following a party at a Downtown short-term rental, city leaders began looking into regulations.

Cities across the region have regulations in place or outright bans. But the city of St. Louis is one of the few without. There are two bills moving forward that would implement regulations.

Bill 33 “requires a permit to operate a Short-Term Rental in the City of St. Louis, requires designation of a Short-Term Rental Agent to respond to concerns regarding the operation of a Short-Term Rental, prescribes an application process and process for the appeal of the denial of a Short-Term Rental permit, as well as process for the revocation of any such permit.”

Bill 34 “enacts a new Chapter 26.76 of the Revised Code of the City of St. Louis on the subject of Short-Term Rental, with definitions and establishing Short Term Rental as a permitted use in all zones in the City of St. Louis.”

“There needs to be a common sense approach,” said Pona.

Greg Elder owns AirBnbs around the area. He says he doesn’t see the need for bills proposed in the city.

“It’s really not necessary because there are systems in place on Airbnb where you can report a problem property or you can report a party. I think we’re highly self-regulated,” said Elder.

Airbnb implemented a “no party rule” and that’s how Gary Hosna hopes to tackle the property in Shaw. Hosna is with the Shaw Neighborhood Ownership Model, a neighborhood security group. He says the shooting on Castleman is the second outside the property. The listing describes it as an “Entire Building in Shaw community, Sleeps 48.”

“That’s a listing that’s asking for parties,” said Hosna. He’s already been in touch with Airbnb.

“We called Airbnb directly, asked them to delist the property and delisting the property, they have done in other neighborhoods for events just like this generally in 48 hours,” said Hosna.

Pona said he had reported the house next door following parties. It was suspended but then brought back online.

The bills proposing new regulations will be heard in a committee hearing on June 20 at 9:00 a.m., and public comment is welcome. If the bills pass out of committee, they will go before the full Board of Alderman for a vote.