INDIANAPOLIS — People living in Fountain Square are raising concerns about rental properties.
There is a wide range of Airbnb and VRBOs located in the neighborhood, some of which neighbors say have caused issues. Several living in the area said they are having to put up with a wide range of nuisances, some of which even puts their safety on the line.
“The majority are fine and good, but there are some that will have a large overnight party,” said Fountain Square neighbor Dakota Pawlicki. “Then suddenly your entire street is blocked up with cars everywhere. There are people spilling out into the streets.”
Homeowners said these large gatherings become very bothersome.
“Sometimes the noise is really bad,” said neighbor Ronald Melton. “I’m retired, but everyone else here in the neighborhood is working normal jobs and it’s really loud.”
Not only can it be bothersome, but neighbors also said it can even become damaging.
“My wife’s car was damaged because one of their guests fell and damaged the car cause he was drunk,” Melton said.
While most complaints often involve too much noise or too many people in the streets, homeowners say some large party gatherings at short-time rentals have turned violent.
“Often times things escalate,” Pawlicki said. “We’ve had incidents of property theft, even gun violence, and even murder in some cases.
IMPD is also trying to crack down on these large party gatherings, noting that many have involved teenagers and underage drinking.
“We want folks to have a good time, however, when there is underage drinking or people being shot, we do not need that obviously in our city,” IMPD Ofc. William Young said. “So we’re trying to bring awareness to it.”
Pawlicki said he has witnessed instances of gun violence right around his own home. He helped start the Coalition to Address Short-Term Rentals. His group is now calling for action.
“What people want is to be able to live in a community where they know their neighbors and where they’re not concerned about gun violence right next door to them,” he said.
IMPD Ofc. Young said renters also need to take a stance on the issue.
“Know who’s renting your home or your facility for that matter,” Young said. “Making sure there is no illegal activity, and if you do learn about that illegal activity, we want you to reach out to us.”
Neighbors a part of Pawlicki’s group have been in talks with city leaders and have offered a few suggestions, such as an ordinance requiring short-term rentals to register with the city or rules that would require renters to stay for a minimum of two nights instead of one night.
Pawlicki said registering with the city would help police actually be able to contact the renters when issues arise.
“You can’t go next door and ask your neighbor ‘Hey can you turn it down, hey what’s going on here’,” he described. “[An ordinance] that would have real, accurate contact information for IMPD in the event there is a situation and IMPD needs to get ahold of the property owner, they actually know who to contact, not a shell company or someone based out of state.”
IMPD said anyone concerned about large party gatherings or such nuisances can reach out to IMPD Nuisance Abatement detectives at IMPD_NuisanceAbatement@Indy.gov.
The Coalition to Address Short-Term Rentals is also working to collect data about the number of rentals in the area and issues people have experienced. The group says anyone who has experienced these issues can fill out an online survey.