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Airbnb Gives Voice to Party-Weary Neighbors

The company promises a way to let you sound off about problem renters

Airbnb will soon be giving you a new way to complain. Not about the company itself, but rather about your neighbor’s noisy and troublesome short-term renters. This according to Bloomberg Business.

Yasuyuki Tanabe, head of Airbnb Japan, broke the news at the public forum on sharing economy regulation, according to the report. Japan is a huge market for the San Francisco-based startup, which saw its Japanese business increase 500 percent in 2015. But just like here at home, that success has come with scrutiny from government and complaints from some residents of the most popular destination neighborhoods.

In response to those concerns, Tanabe announced a new site feature, an online form that will allow neighbors to leave feedback about the kinds of renters Airbnbs are attracting. Tanabe called the relationship between those using the service and those living nearby "one of the most important issues facing the sharing economy." The new forum should be available in all Airbnb markets in a few weeks.

Often, concern about "party houses" on Airbnb focuses on the host — the company occasionally has to eat the cost of damages inflicted on user’s properties, like the Oakland house that was the unwitting site of a 300-person teenage rager on New Year’s Eve.

Gripes about noise and inconvenience when a neighbor rents to the wrong crowd aren‘t hard to find. Cities like Danville and Redondo Beach (Los Angeles County) recently banned short-term rentals outright citing, among other things, noise complaints and "spring break behavior." Last year, Washington DC sued the owners of one rowdy party rental. And some Japanese landlords say the top complaint they get about Airbnb renting is that foreign visitors are too loud.

Today there are over 62,000 Airbnb listings in California, 6,600 in San Francisco, with an additional 1,100-plus in Oakland, and nearly 1,200 in San Jose. The site claims to host more than 2 million listings worldwide.