Tag Archives: Airbnb

AirBnB

13 Aug

After the gunfight under our windows I wondered if someone might have an errant AirBnB renter that had a party that went south. It had never occurred to me before to even think residential apartments might offer up short-term rentals. Because we’re renters. No lease I’ve ever signed allows subletting, which is what short-term rentals technically would be. But the news talked about over 100 shots fired down the street from here, and said the culprits were 2 warring AirBnB parties. Like, parties as in groups of people having fun, not parties in the court of law sense. So I looked on the website, and boy did I find out our lofts have an AirBnB situation! I could tell each listing that was definitely from our loft building because we have distinct orange-colored kitchen cabinets.

At first I thought the landlord must not know about these residents gone rouge. OUR lease is very specific that we are the only 2 allowed to live in our apartment. It limits guests to family and limits the amount of time they can stay here. There is no subleasing permitted on the lease we signed. And I just assumed it was like that for everyone in the lofts… Because what a liability! If something happened, the landlord could ultimately be responsible since he owns the building. It would cause a legal entanglement to evict a resident for something their AirBnB subtenant did.

After the gunfight I emailed and texted the landlord asking if any of the participants lived in our lofts or rented one of the many Airbnbs listed.

positions of me (circle) and people with modified weapons

He ghosted me.

July 31st I counted 10 listings that showed the building’s distinct orange kitchens (note how many guests each ad has listed for one loft):

In regards to the number of guests allowed for each individual loft, you can see that parties are actively encouraged by the hosts. This is not exclusively a high end vacationer thing-though at these price-points, it’s that too. These hosts have 6 guests listed frequently, which is NOT the size of any loft in this building. They are trying to solicit partiers to split the high cost, knowing damn well the nuisance and risk parties will introduce to the building.

As you can see, this is not a new thing. There were many “super-hosts” among those offering up units for short-term rental. And it wasn’t a seldom occurrence, as many of the hosts had 30-40-50 reviews from people who had already stayed in our building.

Annnd you can see in the above examples (not exhaustive) that there are actual businesses offering up our loft’s units on AirBnB. In my opinion, a lot of the hosts looked like they had their units professionally staged and the photos were magazine quality. If an individual did that, then I guess they are in the right business. But also, maybe this is big-business since travel companies were sometimes listed as host. How does that even occur? The landlord HAS to be in on it if businesses are using the building. He is absolutely taking extra deposits, or higher rental fees, or a direct cut of the AirBnB profits to allow that.

You can also see the money being made on these AirBnB stays. For the 10 listings of our address, the average per night stay cost $140! I couldn’t even believe it. So that’s precisely why we could afford to live in such a nice building: Crime + the real money is being made on all of the AirBnBs.

On Aug 9 there were 14 listings, including 4 new listings (one of the listings was for 2 different apt) from “J.C.”

And I noticed the pictures on these listings were the exact same pictures that were on apartments.com and renters.com etc, etc… Like the landlord was in on it.

And of course he would have to be, because we have gates and the doors and elevator requires a key fob to get in. How would all these AirBnB people be getting around the property if the landlord wasn’t assisting the host? Ooohhhh, all those things hanging on the gate are a means of entry! UPS and Amazon and other frequent people use them to come in without the key fob. So the literal 17 on outside gates are for the AirBnB people to get in also.

So if 15 units are posted on AirBnB for short-term rentals that means 23% of the units in our lofts are hosting AirBnb!

At first I was mad. Because that’s egregious. And it endangers all of us with actual leases since AirBnB does not do background checks. Also, it renders are gated property and key-fob entry useless. Random people are trapesing in and out of here every weekend. And one legitimate AirBnB can invite 60 friends into the building, and no one’s checking these people in any way. We need a door man checking badges and IDs and confiscating weapons and drugs! It’s really not safe for current leasors, and it’s very unethical to draw people here from outside the community who don’t know what they’re stepping into. These people are just on vacation, a lot of them, and some have kids and stuff. They’re just walking around unaware that a whole ass gunfight broke out. Right on the property. And last weekend. There really should be some kind of mandatory disclosures. Landlords should be required to inform tenants of the scope of AirBnBs allowed. The AirBnB landlords should be required to disclose safety concerns to potential short-term leasers.

Then, I thought about buying a building in a rough area of town. An area that is trying to revitalize, that has many empty warehouses, construction, drag racing, people gathering, and random gunfights. The locals probably know to stay away, so it must be difficult to fill all of the units in the building. And what a waste to have a quarter of the building sit empty! So I can understand trying to recoup some money and get people into those units.

Saint Louis isn’t really doing anything to crack down on AirBnBs, and the property owner is obviously making money from it, so I don’t think it’s going to change any time soon. I didn’t realize that’s yet another thing I need to research when looking for housing–are AirBnBs listed for that property??!

Brandi Carlile: 240% More Likable

8 Jul

Covid slowed down enough that I got to go to a concert for the first time in quite awhile. The variants are still around, and N95 masks are more expensive so nobody is really wearing effective masks any more. I’m just hoping that my vaccine and booster do their job, and I’m relying on the fact the show is outside in open air so my risk will be reduced. We had tickets to the Indigo Girls with the Symphony in May, and I was really worried about being indoors with a lot of (singing) strangers. I haven’t gotten Covid, and don’t want to, but also–it’s my top fave of all time, the Indigo Girls. If there’s anyone to take a risk for–it’s them! But unfortunately, that show was cancelled… Because someone came down with Covid. So I had been disappointed, but also relieved. Because that is a pretty high risk situation, and I would never go to a movie theater or the dentist yet because being in enclosed spaces with strangers is still really gross and a high risk. I really hope I don’t get sick! But hopefully that won’t be a factor for this outdoor show.

The venue: Starlight Theater is probably the easiest venue I have ever dealt with (maybe Deer Valley with all its free ski parking, actually, now that I think of it). But it was pretty easy for us because we got an AirBnB shack (this is not an exaggeration) in the run-down neighborhood across the street from the venue, so we were able to walk 1.5 miles and have no logistical car issues! Though I was legitimately afraid the entire time that my car’s catalytic converter would be stolen. I parked it in between our shack’s porch with visible Ring camera and the (literally) condemned house next door, so it was sort of tucked in. Two nights cost $307.42!!! Wrong address given in the confirmations *eye roll* Landlords are on my ultimate bad list right now, as you know [see Emergency Move post from January 2022].

But walking was EVERYTHING!

The sound at the venue was effing amazing too. Someone on Reddit said it was better than Red Rocks, which may or may not be a bridge too far, but I will say it was better than the Gorge. But only because it is smaller and less open than the Gorge. There was no bad seat either. We could afford the 3rd row from the very back, but it still felt like row 8. I could see perfectly!

Katie Pruitt is one to watch! She came out feisty and with big energy and rocked out most of her setlist. The pipes are unreal and I have to put some of the songs on my “Pipes” playlist along with Whitney and other legends, because it was that amazing. No wonder Brandi picked her. I played Pruitt’s stuff on the treadmill later and Spotify made them sound substantially lower key and slower, so I’m excited for her next tracks. I hope she brings that energy to the studio. New fan for sure.

Tanya went next and I don’t really know her, but a lot of people in the crowd did so it was a fun set as well.

It was my eighth Brandi show and it was a good one, though I think because of guests it was spaced out a bit weird. When the show ended I was incredulous how early it was! But the encore ended up being a full third of the concert so it ended up better than expected. If I were the band, I might have done something like DMB did with Acoustic vs Electric sets and have an intermission between the actual band and the guesting people. But since the encore was SIX songs long, I didn’t feel shorted or anything. Everyone was full of energy from 1st note to last and the feedback loop between the performers and the crowd was strongly positive and amped up.

To open the show, the twins came out and jammed out. An instrumental version of 2 song choruses were played, but I should have written them down. It was energetic though.

Setlist:

  • Broken Horses
  • The Things I Regret
  • The Story (dedicated to a fan who donated to Looking Out Foundation)
  • The Eye
  • The Mother
  • Mama Werewolf
  • Woodstock (Joni Mitchell cover)
  • Rocket Man (Elton John cover)
  • Right on Time
  • Cannonball
  • Sinners Saints and Fools
  • Happy Birthday to Josh the celloist? I think–I took it for me
  • The Joke

Encore:

  • Mainstream Kid (w/Katie Pruitt)
  • That Wasn’t Me (w/Tanya Tucker)
  • Bring My Flowers Now (Tanya Tucker cover w/Tanya Tucker)
  • Hold Out Your Hand
  • Stay Gentle
  • Over the Rainbow (July Garland cover)

I thought the slow stuff when on a bit long–we were sitting for at least songs 5-8, and 4 low-key songs in a row is two songs too many probably. I didn’t really like the Joni Mitchell song itself, but I could tell it was very technical and difficult to sing and play, so it was fun to take in even if I wouldn’t buy the CD.

Brandi’s outfit and aesthetic really fell into place during the Elton John cover! I was doing the ugly sweat the entire day in moisture-wicking tank and skort so I KNOW she was effing dying of heat. You couldn’t tell though.

I had been particularly excited to hear Sinners Saints and Fools live because there is SO MUCH potential for cool instrumentation and rocking out. I won’t say I was disappointed with the song (though I did miss the motorcycle-sounds at the end like it is on the track) but I will still say its potential is unfulfilled–there’s still the next show, right?

I went to the show for my birthday, so it was absolutely perfect that happy birthday was sung to a band-mate. I imagined it was for my own b-day.

The encore Mainstream Kid was the best version of this song so far, and I sang and danced my a$$ off the whole time!

Tanya Tucker was decidedly post-60 and her talking points, mutterings, and costume changes provided me with a lot of humor. I never really knew any of her music before so I wasn’t familiar with any of it–but the crowd loved her. It seemed like some people came to see her, rather than Brandi, because she had quite a following and cheering section. I will say–kids, don’t smoke.

I’m happy to say she did the encore in a t-shirt because it was HOT out.

Hold Out Your Hand was a great choice to end the “encore” which I am regarding as the guest section of the concert, as it is probably Brandi Carlile’s most fun song in the catalog. It was fun to see her try to do the stanzas as fast as she did on the album (I think she made one–no shade, bc it’s FAST). I don’t know all the words, but I wish I did because she makes it look really fun to sing.

Then what I am considering the true encore was slow, which is nice for an encore. And the tribute to Pride brought tears literally to my eyes.

It was a really nice time, as always. And per the usual, I came out of the venue liking Brandi 30% more than I did before. I think that’s 240% more than my initial impressions (which were great!) if my math is correct. It’s happened like that every concert. She just seems so nice, and genuine, and she has such a talent! She is one of my favorites. Can’t wait to see her again, and I will most definitely go back to the Starlight. Though it would be really nice if she could make it to Saint Louis some time.