Northaven Park Neighbors Riled By NSFW Airbnb Rentals

Airbnb

This Northaven Park home has become a bone of contention between the property owner and the neighbors nearby, who say the property owner has rented it out as a party house.

Some Northaven Park homeowners are pretty peeved about a house they say has become a party house on Airbnb. But what really chapped their hides was what happened last weekend — a nekkid photo shoot around the pool.

As a Southern girl from way back, I learned the difference between “naked” and “nekkid.” Naked, you see, is when you don’t have clothes on. Nekkid is when you’re naked and up to something.

And Northaven Park neighbors say the company, Arsenic.TV, was definitely up to something – and those neighbors reached out to me this week about it.

(Note: After the jump, there are some photos depicting nudity or partial nudity. Angle your phone or computer away from small children and those easily offended by black bars over naked people and continue reading.)

The home, which is located at 11241 Rosser Road, sits near a park used by the families in the neighborhood, and not too far from Withers Elementary.

Now, I don’t think anyone would’ve had a problem with … erm …  the company engaging in their artistic practice of nude photography if said photography had been behind a privacy fence or inside the palatial house. But neighbors are saying that was not the case.

“Some of the parties have been complete with a full PA system being used in the backyard until late hours in the night,” said neighbor Jason Meyer. “The best, though, was this past weekend when Arsenic thought it would be a good idea to do a nude photo shoot in the backyard, which has no privacy fence.”

Meyer lives across the alley from the property. A creek runs through the alleyway, and the fencing facing the creek is not private.

“This weekend it was rented to a group called Arsenic who is creating month-long pop up events across the country to build their local social media audience of ‘artists and models,’ ” fellow neighbor Jill Agnew said. “The reality is they rent a house, invite people over, and shoot photos and videos of naked women.”

The prospect of potential weekend parties like the one they got an eyeful of last weekend happening for a whole month has neighbors more than a little concerned. My email to Arsenic requesting information about the pop-up parties received no response.

Their Instagram account (and a couple of their models’ accounts) confirmed they did have a nude shoot in the backyard, though.

airbnb

Airbnb

Above, Arsenic models pose nude in two photos that also show the same pool and home in the photo below, which was obtained from the real estate listing for the property. Photos were edited to obscure some nudity.

Click on their Instagram account if you need to see more than what we’re already showing you.

“The Airbnb website shows that the house is booked every weekend through Thanksgiving so I am assuming it is the same group since their website mentions month-long pop-ups,” Agnew said. “The neighbors on the street reported about 20 cars parked around the house this weekend.”

Neighbors say they’re frustrated because they tried talking to the property owner, who was less than responsive.

“I’ve brought it to the owners’ attention, but they don’t seem to care and said they considered it freedom of speech,” Meyer said.

“Basically she says her right to freedom of speech allows her to rent to whomever she wants,” Agnew agreed.

According to the Dallas County Appraisal District, the home is owned by Fort Worth Dallas Real Estate Limited Real Estate Company, which has a mailing address on Merrell Road. We double checked, and the business address listed on DCAD is out-of-date.

The same home is featured on the Houzz page for Trinity Build and Design, where Meg Waldrop is also listed as the contact person. A Dallas County court case, Nussbaumer vs. W Signature Homes, revealed that the Waldrops also did business as W Signature Homes.

Waldrop is also the listing agent for the house, which is also on the market for almost $1.5 million. The listing indicates she is with Citiwide Properties Corp.

Built in 2015, the home has four bedrooms and five bathrooms, with a media room that can double as an extra bedroom since it has an en-suite bathroom and large closets. The backyard is huge and has a pool and mature trees. There are Bertazzoni appliances in the kitchen, a large laundry room and pantry, and both a front circle drive and a gated rear motor court.

As an Airbnb listing, the home goes for $650 per night during the week, and $1,000 per night on the weekend. The security deposit is $500. There is a two-night minimum for weekend stays.

“We want you to have a great time in our home, but please be respectful. Outdoor quiet time after 10 p.m.,” the listing says. “This is a tight-knit neighborhood and there is usually a patrol officer across the street at the school.”

The listing also warns that a $500 penalty charge will be assessed if the police are called.  All the reviews for the listing are positive, even glowing.

Meyer said that language is relatively new — that it was initially listed as a party house. “It was advertised as being great for bachelor and bachelorette parties,” he said.

We did reach out to Waldrop about the complaints. “I know I’ve had some discussions with the neighbors on this,” she said when I called. “I think I probably wanna consider my comment on this before making a statement.”

I gave her my email address, informed her of my deadline and the proposed date of publication, and we hung up. That was at 10:26 a.m., Friday. Saturday afternoon, she sent an email that simply stated, “We love our neighborhood and respect our neighbors. The complaints you mentioned are inaccurate. Thank you.”

So what can you do if your neighbor is renting out to noisy or nuisance tenants? I reached out to District 14 Dallas City Councilman Philip Kingston for some advice, as well as Dallas Police Officer Justin Cooley, who works as the neighborhood patrol officer in the Northaven Park area.

First, do what these neighbors did — contact the owner of the home and let them know the issues. If you don’t think you can keep your cool, write a letter.

“Think like a neighbor,” Kingston said. “If there’s a problem, write a letter, have neighbors sign it, and ask, ‘would you please address this?’ ”

Secondly, continually report it to the police and code enforcement, via 911 and 311.

“A lot of people won’t call 911, but will go on NextDoor and complain,” Cooley said. “We can’t respond to what nobody calls in.”

“If they have loud music, call 911,” he added. “If you think something illegal is going on, call 911.”

“Noise ordinances are pretty strict for residential areas,” Kingston said. The city’s noise ordinance includes language about public address systems and where they can be used, musical instruments, music in general, and even construction noise. 

Cooley says that while it may take more than 30 minutes to respond to a noise complaint, police will respond — and that you should keep calling in, making sure to give the exact address of the problem house every time.

“If officers are called out enough, we can write a ticket,” he said.

Simultaneous to calling to report the issue, make sure you’re letting your council person know as well because they’ll be able to advocate for you and suss out what is going on.

“Let your city council person know, because we can help,” Kingston said. “Don’t wait until there have been several calls to police — let us know that your neighborhood is having a problem and then keep us updated.”

Meyer says that he’s done just that. “Councilwoman (Jennifer) Gates has been great through this whole thing,” he said.

Other things homeowners with problem neighbors should know, Kingston said, are zoning regulations for their area (in this case, the house is solidly in an area zoned residential). “There are also occupancy limits for houses,” he added.

Kingston says that frequently the city can help step in and help everyone come together on the issue, too.

“The city will help,” he said. “We’ll do everything we can. We can definitely help mediate between problem property owners and their neighbors.”

But Kingston said he also feels that the market should help regulate itself with best practices. Airbnb does have language about responsible hosting that addresses being a good neighbor. In addition, a neighbor can file a complaint about a host.

“If your neighbor is an Airbnb host and you want to complain about noise, parking, trash, common areas or something else related to an Airbnb guest’s stay, you can do so on Airbnb Neighbors,” the company says. “We’ll review your complaint and if we match it to an active Airbnb listing, we’ll follow up with the host.”

Those complaints don’t show up on a host’s listing, though. After the complaint is matched to a listing, the company reaches out to the host to let them know and to give suggestions on how to remedy the issue. I could find no information on what happens if the complaints from neighbors are frequent.

While some cities like South Padre Island (Airbnb has a whole list of additional cities) have ordinances specifically related to the type of short-term rentals Airbnb and VRBO specialize in, Dallas currently does not.

“It’s tricky,” Kingston said. “People have asked us to implement some regulations around short-term rentals like Airbnb, but so far we haven’t.”

Kingston said he knows of other situations similar to the Northaven Park one, and eventually, the property owners run afoul of other city codes that more obviously apply.

“The city has regulations in place concerning single-family detached zoning,” he explained. “You can’t have more than six unrelated people living in the same house.”

“But does a short-term rental apply in terms of this ordinance?” Kingston posited. “We don’t know.”

What Kingston does know is that he’d rather see the market — be it Realtors in general or the short-term rental companies — police themselves.

“On the council there is a pretty solid majority that wants to treat things like this, Uber, and Lyft as kind of an experiment,” he said. “On the whole, Airbnb and VRBO have been good neighbors — they help sell houses, and help people develop easy income streams.”

And because houses sell quickly here, Kingston thinks the inherent potential damages and dangers that come with renting a home on the market to people who want to party will keep situations like the one on Rosser Road to a minimum.

“I see greater problems when the market cools off,” he said. “And if we have to regulate, we will. I just don’t want to see a situation like in the Napa Valley area, where it’s nearly impossible to participate in the short-term rental market.”

Kingston said that maintaining an open line of communication with your council person, and continuing to report problems to code enforcement or the police are a homeowner’s strongest lines of defense.

“Those actions do rachet up over time,” he said. “I don’t think anyone can sustain multiple code violations.”

“Eventually the city attorney would try to seize the property,” he added.

And the city isn’t the only avenue homeowners can take, Kingston said. A civil suit is another method to get a remedy.

“All of these things are issues that fall under the state’s common law of nuisance,” he said. “A property owner who is not addressing this could really face pretty severe civil damages.”

In the case of the neighbors at Northaven Park, a resolution may be nigh. After we talked to Dallas police, they said they have turned the issue over to a specific code enforcement officer, who will begin looking at the neighbors’ complaints and talking to the property owner. 

Bethany Erickson is the education, consumer affairs, and public policy columnist for CandysDirt.com. Contact her at bethany@candysdirt.com.

4 Comment

  • This is about Kingston’s speed. He must have acquired his detailed knowledge of the Napa rental market at all of the police and fire pension board meetings that he did not attend.

  • mm

    Air BnB responds within an hour to complaints. People like this homeowner abuse the site. It’s NOT what Air BnB is about. They will be shut down, I can guarantee it. This has little to do with Air BnB and a lot to do with simple neighborhood responsibility. Years ago Playboy would come to Dallas to shoot and we had the same exact problems with that. They’d be out shooting Nekkid women in the pool, neighbors would look through the fence and complain…. complain much much later I might add.

  • This is a function of an out of area investor over building on a lot. They think they can get $1.5M on the corner of Northaven and Rosser? That corner is better suited for a drive thru bank than a luxury home.