Tom Owen claimed, according to A Kentucky Newspaper, he was unaware of Airbnb-style rentals in his district until last month in this story:
Councilman Owen, who has many of the 440 Airbnb rentals in his district that includes The Highlands, said he was not aware of them until last month when an attorney called his office. He said he has not had any complaints about them.
“I’m not opposed to the concept, but you can imagine in a highly competitive hospitality market the established venues have perhaps contacted metro government,” said Owen, D-8th District.
But… that’s not the case. He either misspoke or the dying Gannett paper has misreported what he said.
A group of Cherokee Triangle residents have been complaining to and communicating with Owen regarding several problematic short-term rentals since at least 2012. In April 2014 he told that Cherokee Triangle group this:
About 18 months ago a delegation of Barringer/Edgeland residents came to my “Talk With Tom” to complain about the weekend rental there. At that point, I recall that there is nothing in our building code that prohibits short-term rentals. While I fully support Derbytime short-term rentals, I would support a change somehow limiting the number of days/weeks that a property could be rented. WHO KNOWS WHETHER THAT CHANGE WOULD SURVIVE A VOTE OF A 26 MEMBER COUNCIL COMPOSED OF MEMBERS WHERE THIS PROBLEM DOES NOT EXIST.
That group of residents started communicating with Owen after coming to us for help. We advised them that Owen’s office would be a big help and he was. He, despite having no help from any other agency, apparently worked some magic because quite a few troublesome weekend rentals stopped being problems.
In late August 2014, the Cherokee Triangle Association (according to the group of residents living there who provided us copies of emails) submitted a request to MetroCall regarding properties operated by a local realtor. She owns multiple houses and condos that she rents out on various sites for nights, weekends, whatever.
Here’s a look at one of them:
FROM METRO CALL SITE
Neighbors, as Owen mentioned, were (and still are — two families directly across from one property have sold their homes, one as recently as a week ago) experiencing nightmare parking scenarios, loud parties, problem after problem.
Some of her rentals:
CLICK EACH TO ENLARGE
Note: Seim didn’t respond to requests for comment via email or voicemail.
Those neighbors, according to emails provided to us, have tried to resolve problems with the owner but were shot down with response like:
Your facts are in error and you seem to take pleasure in being rude. Good day.
They tell us there’s not much else Owen can do to help them and not much else they can do on their own. Neighbors say she’s operating what are effectively hotels but isn’t licensed, doesn’t pay occupancy taxes and has no concern for those living next to her properties. And her behavior makes it difficult for respectful, responsible short-term rental operators to exist in the city.
Whoops, got sidetracked. The point? Owen has been well-aware of this situation for a long time. If that wasn’t misreporting by the paper, that’s jacked and it’s time to be worried about him.
And what the heck is with these shysters who buy up properties solely to use them as short-term night and weekend rentals? They ruin everything for good people who try to follow the law and do the right thing for the city.