Fighting For Your Right to Party: Airbnb in the Bronx
Frustrated neighbors protest outside the home of Nebi Ayele, Airbnb user and party promoter.
Gathering outside of an infamous party house in the East Bronx, New York lawmakers and angry neighbors alike are trying to prevent homeowners from turning their houses into nightclubs for profit.
Airbnb, the website recently under fire in New York City for undrcutting hotels and rent-controlled apartments, is now being criticized for short-term rentals of family-sized homes. According to the frustrated neighbors on Fenton Avenue in the Bronx, Airbnb is to blame for the loud music and late night parties in their typically quiet suburban neighborhood. Homeowner Nebi Ayele used the website to rent out his home, calling it the "Fenton Lounge." Facebook pictures from one party show images of strippers, a DJ, and a fight breaking out.
"The parties usually go on until five o'clock in the morning. Then you have about seventy-five to a hundred people spilling out into the street to get in their cars and go," says two-doors down neighbor Jean Presta, "It was unbelievable."
In response, State Senator Jeff Klein proposed a bill to ban one to two sized family homes from serving as short-term rental options. This legislation especially targets so-called "collaborative consumption" sites like Airbnb.
"The least we can expect from Airbnb is that they police they're own site. They know who they're posting ads for," said Senator Klein.
The owner of the party house himself, Nebi Ayele, even came down to have a word with his angry neighbors.
"Everyone out here is defaming my name. Because you know what? This is how I live. This is how I make my living. In order to make ends meet, I rent my house through Airbnb," said Ayele.
Misunderstood businessman or the Bronx's very own Van Wilder? Only time will tell.