HOUSTON - Two teenagers were shot at an Airbnb rental house party early Monday morning in West Harris County.
The gunshots rang out at an Airbnb rental home on Maximos Drive leaving a 17 and a 19-year-old shot, one in the abdomen the other in the buttocks. Both are expected to survive.
Deputies say it was a huge party; some residents in Bellaire say safety concerns are exactly why they want Airbnb rentals banned.
"The city of Bellaire is the city of homes. It’s the city of families. People have made a tremendous sacrifice to be able to purchase homes in Bellaire," says Bellaire City Council Member Jim Hotze.
So Bellaire City Council asked the City Manager and City Attorney to research other Texas towns like West University that have cracked down on short-term rentals to see what changes can be made.
"We’re not going to jump into this. We’re going to look and see what the problem is. What kind of solutions we can devise? A lot of different people have come up with good reasons to have short-term rentals," Hotze explains saying a couple of those good reasons include families temporarily in town for medical treatment and those new to the area for things like job transfers.
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"I have two properties that I rent. One is in my home. One is an apartment that I have on my property," says Bellaire resident Cathy Doughty who has rented out her properties using Airbnb for 7 years. "I have never had a problem with my Airbnb guests. All highly educated, outstanding, have followed all of the rules. No issues whatsoever. No parties".
There are about a dozen short-term rental homes in Bellaire and some say some of them have become a nuisance with a loud noise, heavy traffic, trash, and an overwhelming disrespect of the neighborhood.
"Prove it. I would like to see you prove it, documentation, a video that supports that allegation," Doughty says.
Hotze says he believes the council can come up with a solution that works for everyone. They’re looking to create an ordinance that would ban short-term rentals less than a certain time frame, which could be as little as 7 days or as much as six months but they haven’t come up with a number yet. Bellaire City council is expected to do several months of research before re-addressing the issue.