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Indy residents share concerns about short-term rentals, call for city leaders to take action

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Posted at 10:46 PM, May 10, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS — Neighbors across Indianapolis say short-term rental properties, like Airbnb and Vrbo, are becoming a nuisance.

“It can’t be a free for all, which it has been," one resident said.

“It’s noise, music, people in the street," another said.

Dozens gathered Wednesday to discuss recommended provisions for a potential city-county ordinance to address the issue.

The issue is something that hits close to home for Fountain Square resident Dakota Pawlicki.

“It’s problematic when these properties end up getting used as party houses. On any given night, you might have a normal Airbnb that’s probably for a family of three and suddenly there’s 90 people in there," the co-founder of CASTR, or the Coalition to Address Short Term Rentals, said.

Pawlicki says these properties can create issues with parking, vandalism, noise and in extreme cases, even violence.

“No resident of any neighborhood wants to live next to a place where that kind of threat to their livelihood is going to happen," he said.

Just last month, a party at a short-term rental property on Indy’s east side resulted in gun fire.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers say it’s becoming a trend in our city that they are trying to crack down on.

IMPD encourages all short-term rental property owners to be aware of who is staying at your home. Owners can also install noise monitoring devices which can detect excessive noise and other warning signs of a party while protecting guest privacy.

Anyone with information regarding flyers about upcoming events at short-term rentals should contact Nuisance and Abatement by email at IMPD_NusianceAbatement@indy.gov.

So what else can be done?

CASTR created a list of recommendations for city-county council to draft a 'common sense' ordinance:

  1. Registration with city.
  2. Annual renewal fee.
  3. Business permit from state of Indiana.
  4. Principal renter must be 21 years of age.
  5. Owner's name and contact information must be posted inside residence and with contiguous neighbors.
  6. IMPD must have immediate access to owner's contact information.
  7. Inspections required - at owners expense.
  8. New permits not allowed in residential area.
  9. STR permits not transferable when property sells.
  10. Occupancy rate established of how many people can be in the residence.
  11. No large parties.
  12. No food trucks.
  13. Two night minimum stay.
  14. No recreational vehicles, buses or trailers allowed.
  15. Must obey all local ordinances including noise and trash ordinances.

“These are businesses. I think all businesses have to have a permit, so to me, that would be the first step," Old south side resident Judith Essex said. “Get an ordinance in place so that we know who the owners are, so we can get a hold of them when there’s a problem.”
Essex hopes these restrictions will solve some of the housing issues in her neighborhood.

“The ideal thing is to work with the owners so that we create a neighborhood that is good for everyone. One that protects their investments and one that protects our neighborhood," she said.

Do you have concerns about a short-term rental in the area?

CASTR created a data collection effort at shorttermrentalreport.com.

They’re looking to:

  1. Identify nuisance properties
  2. Identify common problems among short-term rentals
  3. Inform potential policy and enforcement efforts from the city and other stakeholders

So far, they've received between 70 to 80 reports.