Residents of downtown condo say Airbnb renters are wreaking havoc inside historic building

ATLANTA — Despite pleas from Atlanta’s mayor, thousands of people are expected in the city this weekend for Sunday’s NBA All-Star game.

Many of those people will end up staying at Airbnb’s or other short-term rentals.

Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon has learned that residents in one condo building in downtown Atlanta are so concerned about parties this weekend, they’ve hired their own security.

Several owners in the Landmark Building told Wilfon that Airbnb’s and short-term rentals have been a problem in the building for years and it’s only getting worse.

“They create havoc. Loud noise. Weed smoking,” said Zeda Stanley Sator, who lives in the building.

“Noise, a lot of arguments in units. A lot of pot smoking,” said resident Judie Clement.

Wilfon met with several owners at the Landmark Building near the state Capitol. They say many owners in the building now lease out their units as short-term rentals, allowing the partiers to come flooding in.

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“This is a legacy-type building. This is where the legislators used to live,” Sator said.

At least one of them still does -- state Sen. Freddie Powell Sims.

“We attract a kind of clientele that we are afraid of. They come with debris. They come with a lot of noise,” Sims said.

Wilfon went online and found several Airbnb’s listed in the Landmark Building -- some for as cheap as $63 a night.

Sims is especially concerned about who the Airbnb’s could attract this weekend with the NBA All-Star game expected to attract more partiers to town.

“We are having to hire additional security,” Sims said.

She’s hopeful the private security will keep the parties under control.

In a statement, Airbnb noted that Atlanta recently banned so-called party houses -- short-term rentals that become makeshift nightclubs.

Airbnb also told Wilfon that 50 listings around metro Atlanta were removed from Airbnb’s website last year after violating the site’s policies on parties.

But owners at the Landmark said none of those policies have helped them.

“We are literally being forced out by Airbnb individuals,” Sator said.

The Landmark Homeowners Association even took the owners of the Airbnb’s to court, but so far judges have ruled against them.

An attorney for the Airbnb owners told Wilfon that “Landmark condominium documents do not prohibit short-term rentals such as Airbnb” according to one judge’s ruling.

But Sims said she and her neighbors are not giving up on returning their building and their homes to their former glory.

“We didn’t start this fight. We want to live in our homes peacefully, but that’s not happening,” Sims said.

Airbnb told Wilfon they have technology now that automatically scans the website for high-risk reservations, allowing them to essentially stop parties before they start.

The company said since that system was put in place, more than 360 reservations in Atlanta have been cancelled.