PARADISE VALLEY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - The party was large and appeared to have lasted two nights in the upscale suburb of Paradise Valley. The police report and police body-cam video lay out a narrative of what happened.
At least four friends chipped in to come up with $3,500 to rent a property for the weekend of Sept. 19. Neighbors complained about the noise and called the police. Officers showed up on both Friday and Saturday nights. On Saturday night, the party appeared to have attracted hundreds of people. Police issued citations to the renters and took two men into custody. Those men were wanted by other jurisdictions.
Airbnb issued a warning ahead of Halloween weekend that parties will be banned for Arizona listings.
"The party house scene with short-term rentals appears to be getting worse, not better," said Bill Hunter, who is a resident of Paradise Valley and lives next to a short-term rental.
"I call it the coronavirus of neighborhoods. It's that bad," said Susan Edwards, who lives in central Phoenix and started a coalition of residents across the state, who say short-term rentals are ruining their neighborhoods.
"The thing is, it isn't just party houses. It's the deterioration of neighborhoods," said Edwards.
Edwards, Hunter and other critics say the problem started four years ago when state lawmakers passed a bill that prohibited towns, cities and counties from enacting their own restrictions on short-term rentals.
Police officers from three Valley departments tell CBS 5 Investigates they are seeing short-term rentals and the parties they attract as a growing public safety problem.
Since then, the number of these properties has skyrocketed to nearly 25,000 across the state, according to critics, who call them unregulated hotels.
"I think there's (sic) really two big issues. The first is that these are commercial enterprises operating in our neighborhoods right now," said Rep. Aaron Lieberman, a Democrat who represents north Phoenix and Paradise Valley in the Arizona House of Representatives. "The second, which has been a huge part of this issue, is the party houses. And Airbnb can't control it. The state can't control it. The city can't control it. We've got to try something different."
Lieberman says he plans to sponsor bills during the upcoming legislative session, which would return the power to regulate short-term rentals to cities, counties and towns.
During the party in Paradise Valley, police cited six people for violating the town's noise ordinance and for having an unruly gathering. They also arrested Marcial Rice on a warrant for disorderly conduct issued in Buckeye, and Vance Moore, who was wanted by the ATF on drug distribution charges. Both men were considered armed and dangerous, according to the police report.
The warning comes as states, including Arizona, begin to lift stay-at-home restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Police recommended that the homeowner be cited for four violations, including unruly gathering and failure to provide emergency contact information.