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Knoxville Airbnb shut down after warning notices, loud party

The City of Knoxville said a North Knoxville Airbnb did not have the required short-term rental permit. Police broke up a loud party at the home over the weekend.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — As Oakwood-Lincoln Park neighbors rang in the new year, they said a loud party broke out on Columbia Avenue. 

Doorbell footage shows a large group of people shouting and running down the street around 12:45 a.m. Sunday morning.

"It looked like Halloween. People filled the streets," real estate attorney Bennett Hirschhorn said. "It's just abuse. It's abuse of a piece of property in a residential neighborhood."

Hirschhorn lives a few blocks from an Airbnb listing called "The Gold House" at 516 E Columbia Avenue. He was shocked to see the videos.

Credit: Submitted

"It's a sleepy neighborhood... Everybody's respectful of the neighbors," he said. "This is not a neighborhood where they throw parties."

The Knoxville Police Department said it responded to numerous calls for service in the early hours of New Year's Day for a loud party/disturbance.

"It looks like officers did respond to break up the party and send everybody on their way," a spokesperson said. "One of the callers was apparently the property manager, who advised that the booking had been canceled and the people staying there needed to be removed."

Credit: WBIR

10News reached out to the property manager, who identifies as Robert on Airbnb. He said he was aware of the issues and had the guests removed.

"We do everything we can to screen guests through the different short-term rental sites but unfortunately a couple of guests have been completely dishonest with us on their intentions and amount of people staying in the home," Robert said. "The disturbance was unbearably disrespectful to the community and I’m working now with our travel sites and some other managers about how to best change things to avoid these issues."

He went on to say "no one hopes their property is treated this way, and we sincerely apologize for the disturbance these occasions have caused." 

Credit: Submitted

The city of Knoxville's finance department said there is not an active short-term rental permit for the home at 516 E. Columbia Avenue. It said it received several complaints over the weekend from neighbors in Oakwood Lincoln Park.

"We have been in written contact with the owner of this property. They were sent a “Final Warning” letter in late November," the revenue administrator told 10News. "We spoke with the owner of the property [Tusesday]. She indicated that she will remove the listing on rental platforms and will cease rentals."

The department said the owner intends to complete the permit application process but has taken down the listing in the meantime.

Attorney Hirschhorn said it's up to Airbnb owners like himself to ensure situations like these don't happen.

"In the case where people are being irresponsible, somebody's got to do something about it," he said. "You just have to be super vigilant. I think you put up cameras. I think you put some information in your listing that says you don't allow parties, and also what's going to happen."

He said he hopes his neighborhood doesn't see another party like the one over the weekend.

"You have to be responsible," he said. "You have to protect the neighborhood's character."

The City of Knoxville has a 24/7 hotline for people with complaints or concerns about short-term rental properties. The number to call is (865) 337-8275.

Airbnb said there were no Airbnb reservations at the home over the weekend, however, Robert said otherwise. The company said the "incident at the property did not take place during an Airbnb reservation."

"Airbnb bans parties and 'party houses' and opens up our own investigation on this matter," Airbnb said to 10News.

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