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Editor’s note: Shelly Shively wrote this piece to present during the Redding City Council meeting’s public comment period Tuesday evening.
I’m an Airbnb host who lives in one of Redding’s oldest, most quaint neighborhoods. I pay 12 percent of my Airbnb earnings to the city each month in the form of TOT fees, required by the city of Redding from all Airbnb hosts.
For the past 16 months, my Airbnb income has been threatened by next-door neighbors who are in violation of numerous city codes, such as blight, operating car and boat repairs in the front and back yards, inoperable cars parked on both sides of the street, and loud music day and night.
The first day these neighbors moved in, their large dog vaulted my 6-foot fence and killed one of my chickens. I didn’t press charges because I didn’t want to get off to a bad start with my new neighbors.
I have contacted the owner of that rental, many times with complaints, such as regarding piles of my neighbors’ garbage, broken down cars, fire hazards from vehicles worked-on in dead grass, gas fumes from revving engines, and loud outdoor parties. My neighbors have a pit bull that rushes the fence whenever anyone on my side enters or exits our cars.
When I contacted the owner, she said it was up to me to deal with the neighbors, and said that her job was to keep them happy –not to keep me happy. The landlord eventually blocked her phone from taking my calls.
Finally, after 10 months, in February, 2019, I turned to Redding’s code enforcement department for help. I filed a formal complaint. In the meantime, my stellar Airbnb reviews were suffering as guests reported negative impressions of my neighbors and neighborhood. One couple from New York said they felt unsafe being next door to my neighbors. So do I.
Nothing happened in those first two weeks, nor within these past six months, during which I have filed 2 complaint forms with the city code enforcement office, and have gone in person twice to speak with Mr. Steve Willkomm, code enforcement supervisor. I’ve also emailed a complaint.
Mr. Willkomm apologized for the six-month delay, and asked for patience. He explained his department has just two code enforcement officers to handle the backlog of hundreds of code violations and complaints.
Did you know that there are more than 400 Airbnb listings in Redding, with the city receiving 12 percent of Airbnb hosts’ earnings? Surely the city could use some of that money to hire another code enforcement officer so Redding’s guests and residents can receive the best possible Redding experience.
In closing, It’s extremely frustrating to be a law-abiding citizen and Airbnb Super Host who pays 12 percent each month, yet when I need help from the city to ensure that I can continue being a positive Airbnb ambassador for the city, and show my guests the best of what our city has to offer, I feel like I’m on my own.
(Editor’s update: Moments after speaking before the Redding City Council, Shively was approached by Larry Vaupel, Development Services Director, who oversees Steve Willkomm, Code Enforcement Supervisor. Vaupel said that Willkomm had cited Shively’s neighbor’s landlord for code violations Monday, the same day that Shively had gone to the city to file yet another formal complaint about her neighbors, the same day she told Willkomm she would take her concerns to the Redding City Council Tuesday.)