Local Government and Politics, News

Lynn cracks down on Airbnb house

This six-room home on Maplewood Road is listed on Airbnb offering a room for $34 per night. (Thomas Grillo)

LYNN — The owner of a Maplewood Road home has been ordered to stop leasing rooms.

The city’s Inspectional Services Department (ISD) issued a citation on Wednesday to Ugbu I. Dimgba. It is the second time the city has taken action. The first cease and desist order was delivered last fall for failure to have basement exits where some of the short-term rental rooms are located.

Clint Muche, the city’s deputy building commissioner, said ISD will follow up to make sure the rooms are not being rented. If the owner fails to comply, fines of up to $300 a day may be issued by the city and criminal court action could result, he said.

Dimgba could not be reached for comment.

Virginia Fuller, a retired teacher who has lived next door to the six-room, split entry home, said the quiet street has changed since the new owner and his wife began advertising rooms on Airbnb, the online marketplace which lets people lease their homes or spare rooms to guests.

She said two young women came to her door at 10 p.m. recently thinking hers was the Airbnb house.

“I don’t know what they were on but it wasn’t coffee,” she said. “I’ve lived here since 1965 and never had any worries. I spent $400 for an electrician to install motion detector lights at the front and rear entrances.”

Fuller met Dimgba when he and his wife moved into the neighborhood last fall. When the couple had a baby girl, she brought over a gift of baby clothes, she said.

The home’s listing on Airbnb described a “Private Classic Room” in the home for $34 per night. Reviews on the company’s website were favorable with a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Ward 2 City Councilor Richard Starbard said he has received about a dozen calls and email complaints about the Maplewood property. He plans to lobby the City Council to adopt stringent rules for these short-term rentals.

“We need to have regulations that make sense for Lynn,” he said. “We should be able to come up with something that fits with what the state is considering.”

Maplewood Road is not the only street in Lynn where units are advertised on Airbnb. There were two dozen at press time.

Barbara Giguere, 73, who lives on on Eutaw Avenue near Lynn English High School said a neighbor has advertised a guest suite with a master bedroom and a private entrance for $39.

“There are all kinds of cars parked everywhere, and people coming and going at all hours,” she said. “It’s crazy. There’s an out-of-state van that has been parked there for a month. Something has to be done.”

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