March 28, 2022 By Christian Murray
A rally held outside a Bayside house Friday calling on Airbnb to stop listing a property with problematic occupants has proved successful– with the company notifying elected officials that it has canceled all bookings.
Bayside residents and elected officials held a rally outside a house at 208-16 38th Ave. where there have been numerous complaints about squatters illegally renting it via Airbnb. The house has been a source of late night parties, excessive noise and confrontations with neighbors.
The officials called for Airbnb to ban the property from being listed and for the city to issue a vacate order on the home. The issue came to head following a shooting that took place outside the house during the early hours on Saturday, March 19, when shots were fired at a group of teens looking to park their vehicle on the way to a party at the house.
Multiple shots were fired, according to police, with one passenger in the vehicle struck in the torso and taken to hospital in stable condition. Meanwhile, another bullet went through a different vehicle piecing a child’s car seat.
State Sen. John Liu and Assemblyman Edward Braunstein held the rally, where they blasted Airbnb and the city for not clamping down on the squatters. They, along with Congresswoman Grace Meng, wrote a joint letter to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky demanding that the company ban all listings pertaining to the house.
On Saturday, Meng said that she had been contacted by Airbnb and that the company said that it had canceled all bookings under the address and suspended the listing indefinitely.
“I appreciate Airbnb’s prompt response to my office and its willingness to remedy this situation,” Meng said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing my conversations with the company. As I’ve said, residents of this neighborhood must not have their safety put at risk and their quality of life disrupted, and State Sen. John Liu, Assemblyman Ed Braunstein and I will continue to keep up this fight.”
Braunstein was also thankful to Airbnb for taking steps.
The announcement came less than 24 hours after he had blasted the company for allowing the squatters to rent rooms.
“The pattern of disregard and disrespect shown by the individuals squatting at the single-family residence on 38th Avenue escalated to violence last week [March 19] when illegal Airbnb guests brazenly opened fire on the surrounding streets,” Braunstein said at the rally.
“Several times in the past, my office has worked with residents to get Airbnb listings at the property shut down, only for it to appear again under another account,” Braunstein added Friday, when he called for a permanent ban.
“I thank Airbnb for hearing the community’s concerns,” Braunstein said in a statement Saturday. “Moving forward, we will all continue to carefully monitor the activity at this address.”
Liu is also calling on the Dept. of Buildings to issue a vacate order on the house.
“There are several problems at this location that are preventing a satisfying resolution for our community,” Liu said Friday. “At the end of the day, the city needs to be the one to step up and recognize the dangers here as reason enough to vacate the premises and keep our community safe.”