Residents raise concerns about Airbnbs in Old North Durham

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Aside from hotels, Airbnbs have become another popular place for people to stay on a short term basis when traveling far away from home.

Several Airbnbs have popped up in the Old North Durham neighborhood over the years and some residents have concerns about the impact these could have on their neighborhoods.

Moe Rivera has lived on Trinity Avenue in Old North Durham for 20 years.

“I love the character of our neighborhood,” Rivera said. “We live in a community that’s tightknit and we would like it stay that way.”

But on the Airbnb website, recently another home in Rivera’s neighborhood was turned into an Airbnb.

Rivera said that makes five different houses in his neighborhood that have been turned into Airbnbs in recent years.

“You see the revolving door of people and you have a different person on the porch every day,” Rivera said.

Rivera and other people we talked to say these Airbnb’s takes away from the neighborly culture that they have seen on Trinity avenue for years and they don’t like the idea of not knowing who is coming and going on a normal basis.

“It’s really a safety concern,” Rivera said. “There are people coming in and out, you want to know if that person is actually living there or if they’re breaking in.”

Rivera added that he hates to see these historic homes taken over by rich investors.

“I feel like it is taking away the opportunity of people who want to find a home in a downtown that’s close knit,” Rivera said.

CBS 17 reached out to the City of Durham for answers. No officials were available to speak on camera, but they did tell us through email that Airbnbs are allowed in all neighborhoods in the city.

According to city officials, the Airbnbs can be rented out to one family or three unrelated individuals can stay there at a time – and the owner doesn’t have to live there.

Rivera said he would like to see the city ban Airbnbs if the owner does not live there.

“They have to live there just to make sure that everything is on the up and up,” Rivera said.

Officials with the city of Durham said state law will not allow them to ban Airbnbs if the owner does not live on the property. 

The city also said they have received less than half a dozen complaints about Airbnbs in the last three years.

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