Avondale area community members concerned over short-term rental properties

Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 10:39 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham Police are investigating what they’re now calling a homicide in Avondale.

BPD says 23-year-old Reed Anderson Rigsby was found unresponsive Friday afternoon at a residence on the 4500 block of 6th Avenue South. The Jefferson County Coroner later confirmed he was shot during a reported assault. Nobody has been arrested yet in the case.

Since then, neighbors in the area have contacted WBRC with concerns about the homicide and the number of rental properties in the neighborhood.

Most of the concerns have to do with the lack of rules and regulations surrounding the rental properties. One resident said there are over a dozen of them around his house.

“We kind of notice as we walk around that there’s, at one count 17 different Airbnb units within three blocks of our house which is up the street,” said Will Butler.

When searching on the Airbnb app, hundreds of short-term rental properties appear around Birmingham.

“A lot of single family homes, some apartment buildings that are entirely Airbnbs, some carriage houses, basement apartments, stuff like that,” said Butler. “It’s a variety of different types but quite a large number of them.”

He adds that normally, it’s pretty peaceful.

“I actually don’t mind living next to them,” said Butler. “I don’t find it much of a nuisance. It does bother me that I think it affects affordability in the neighborhood. We had several friends who wanted to live close to us and couldn’t find a house they could afford and several of those houses are still currently Airbnbs.”

While for the most part, Butler says there aren’t many disturbances, he wants the city to put a system in place.

“I think they should look into ways to limit the number of Airbnbs since we know they’re detracting from affordability in the city along with really reducing the number of neighbors and people you have around,” said Butler. “I don’t understand exactly why people can run an unlicensed hotel in what’s supposed to be a family home.”

WBRC reached out to Birmingham City Councilor Hunter Williams about the concerns. He sent the following statement:

“Enhanced regulation around short-term rentals, such as Airbnb, on a local level are currently more revenue driven; however, our Office of the City Attorney has been working to draft a more regulated ordinance to encompass more comprehensive regulations for short-term rentals. Currently, all short-term rental properties are required by the city of Birmingham to obtain a business license. All consumers of this market are expected to do their due diligence in making sure the property and its ratings are as they appear to be advertised on their booking platform.”

We also reached out to Airbnb. A representative referred to WBRC’s recent coverage of the short-term rental properties. They also added that they operate a 24/7 neighborhood support line at airbnb.com/neighbors where neighbors can express concerns.


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