Orinda Passes Strict Limits On Short Term Rentals

Follows Fatal Halloween Shooting That Killed Five At An Airbnb

All News KCBS Radio
November 20, 2019 - 10:02 am

The Orinda City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to pass a temporary ban on some short-term rentals.

The emergency ordinance places a 45 day moratorium on any property where the owner is not present.

“People still can have a hosted rental whereby the property owner is on the property at the time and staying there,” says Orinda Mayor Inga Miller. “They also have to be there to greet the guests and that guest has to stay for a two night minimum.”

There are currently about 50 short-term rentals in Orinda.

The ordinance is the city’s response to a fatal shooting at a home that was rented out on Airbnb for a party on Halloween. The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office says about 100 guests were at the party when gunfire rang out. Five people were killed.

Orinda residents say the tragedy is an extreme consequence of the lack of regulation around short term rentals.

“Airbnb can’t protect us. We can’t regulate, we can’t protect ourselves,” said Orinda resident Bob Weiss, who testified at the city council meeting Tuesday. “There are homes where they’re turned into hotels and they’ve turned neighborhoods upside down… I would like to see the short term rentals banned because rules can’t be enforced.”

The ordinance is set to expire in early January but the city council have the option to continually renew it for up to two years while city staff draft a permanent resolution.

The vote came one day after the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office declined to file charges against four of  the five suspects, leading to their release. Officials with the DA's office say they continue to investigate and may press charges if more evidence is found.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misstated the action that the Contra Costa County District Attorney's office took. The DA's office declined to file charges against four suspects, but was never responsible for holding them in custody.