Residents living in a downtown Wichita apartment building are outraged because management started leasing out open units on short term rental websites like Airbnb. Residents say they’re concerned about the guests and their safety.
Residents said they have contacted local management and those with Trinity Property Consultants, the California company who manages ReNew Wichita at 200 E. Douglas Ave.
Resident AJ Pickering took to social media to voice his concerns about the Airbnb residents and the post gained a lot of attention.
“We weren’t notified at all,” Pickering said. “We weren’t asked for any input. We pay high-end prices for a luxury building , and then, they decided to drop this on us.”
Some of the apartments are featured on the Airbnb website. KSN found one last week listed for $60 per night.
“You could rent the place fully furnished, all the utilities included, and it’s about half of what I pay and have full access to all amenities, the hallways, anything,” said Pickering.
Pickering said the Airbnb renters next door to him have been disruptive on multiple occasions. Last week, police records show there was a call of an aggravated assault in a domestic violence disturbance.
“I found that out later on by finding blood on the walls and door handles of the unit right down the hall from me,” Pickering said. “Not far away at all.”
David Seiler, executive vice president of Trinity Property Consultants, confirmed the altercation was “relatively physical” and said both people who were Airbnb renters were evicted and the locks were changed. Seiler also said, “management is constantly communicating with residents.”
Airbnb released a statement to KSN that said, “The reported behavior is abhorrent and has no place on Airbnb. We have removed the guest from our platform.”
Seiler said the short-term leasing has been successful with other properties across the country, and it will continue at ReNew Wichita.
A local attorney said the residents who want out of their lease because of the short-term renters have a tough legal case.
“Just because a domestic dispute happens with an Airbnb customer doesn’t necessarily mean those tenant have a lawsuit that they can bring against the landlord,” said Ed Robinson, real estate attorney. “If the landlord had rented the same unit to any other tenant, it’s still possible that the tenant could have domestic dispute.”
But, Robinson does point to some legal protection within Kansas that says a tenant will be able to live on the premises in peace without any disturbance by hostile claimants.
“Whether it says it in the lease or it doesn’t, the tenant has an implied covenant of quiet enjoyment with respect to the premises that they’re renting,” Robinson said.
Several emails from ReNew Wichita management have been sent out to residents about the disturbance and short-term leasing, but residents said it’s not enough.
“Please, just let me out of my lease,” Pickering said. “This place isn’t safe. I leave in April. I’ve stress my concerns week after week.”
Local attorneys advise that you read your lease agreement in its entirety before signing. If you want to make sure that short-term renters can’t be in your binding, make sure you have that in writing before signing.
Residents said ReNew Wichita will have a resident meeting on Tuesday to address these concerns. The company said a regional manager will be there.