Pittsburgh City Council Proposes New Legislation After Sunday’s Mass Shooting

The shooting, which took place at a North Side Airbnb, prompted council members to seek further regulation on short-term rental properties.

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Following a mass shooting at a massive party in a North Side Airbnb early Easter morning, which left two 17-year-olds dead and multiple other juveniles injured, Pittsburgh City Council is proposing legislation that would further regulate short-term rental properties.

The ordinance was proposed by Councilman Bobby Wilson, who oversees the district where the shooting took place. It would require owners of Airbnbs and other short-term rentals to obtain a license from the city’s Permits License and Inspections office. It would also require them to provide the city with information such as the number of people allowed to stay there, how many beds available and who owns the property. 

Owners would also have to pay a fee based on the number of bedrooms a property has. The license would have to be renewed annually.

At its meeting Tuesday, City Council said that it will be expediting the process and could have a final vote as early as April 26. The legislation will be brought up again for discussion at Wednesday’s standing committee meeting.

“The mass shooting that occurred last night at an Airbnb party in East Deutschtown does not reflect that neighborhood at all,” Wilson said in a statement. “I’m working with community leaders, the Pittsburgh Police and the Office of Mayor Ed Gainey to find out what happened and bring those responsible to justice. For now, my thoughts go out to the loved ones of all the victims of this shooting.”

Airbnb confirmed that the property where the shooting took place was rented through the agency, and that it had banned for life the person who booked the rental.. The host, who banned parties in the listing and advertised an overnight noise curfew, was not even aware that the party was going on. 

The short-term rental behemoth also announced yesterday that it plans to file a civil suit against the person who rented the unit.

“We condemn the behavior that is alleged to have prompted this criminal gun violence and the tragic loss of life,” said Theo Yedinsky, director of global policy for Airbnb, in an email. 

He also said that Airbnb strictly bans parties and prohibits gatherings of more than 16 people. More than 200 people were in attendance at the party on the North Side, and Pittsburgh Police said some partygoers jumped out of windows to escape the shooting. Airbnb said it agrees with Wilson’s move to further regulate short-term rentals.

“We strongly support and stand ready to work with Councilmember Wilson and the City of Pittsburgh to develop short-term rental regulations,” Yedinsky said. He added that Airbnb has been in touch with Wilson’s team, as well as the Pittsburgh Police and Mayor Ed Gainey’s staff to support the investigations into Sunday’s shooting.

This comes amid a rash of increased violence in the city, which prompted a statement from Police Chief Scott Schubert on April 1.

“I have been profoundly troubled by the recent spate of violent crimes in the City. In a matter of five days, there have been three shootings that have taken the lives of three young people, aggravated assaults, multiple shots fired and now, two children, two young boys, have suffered critical stabbing injuries,” he wrote, citing the shootings in various neighborhoods — among them, Mount Washington, South Side and Knoxville — that occurred toward the end of March.

“While the number of violent crimes has been rising around the United States since 2020 and the onset of the pandemic, this is an oversimplified explanation,” he added. “This is unacceptable in Pittsburgh. This is not reflective of the city we know and love. People are clearly hurting.”

No suspects have been named in the mass shooting. Detectives are continuing to work “around the clock” to identify those responsible. Anyone with information related to the shooting is encouraged to come forward.

Categories: The 412