[“Let Inga Tell You,” La Jolla Light, published June 27, 2018] ©2018
If you’re local, you’ve probably been following the debate as to what rules should apply to whole-house short- term vacation rentals in residential neighborhoods – particularly areas near the beach. Unfortunately, more and more investors are buying homes in quiet family neighborhoods in coastal areas (particularly La Jolla) and turning them into short-term vacation rentals, creating major problems with parking, trash, and noise until all hours of the morning. Incongruously, our mayor is leaning toward favoring wholesale greed over the quality of life of people who find themselves suddenly living next door to revolving hordes of partying tourists. News flash, Kev: allowing investors to buy and rent out a non-owner-occupied residence on a nightly basis is not “home-sharing”: it is a motel in a residential neighborhood.
If a short-term rental moved in next to me, I would hope that after a month, the reviews of this property would read something like this:
ACK, DO NOT RENT THIS HOUSE! We thought we’d be having our extended-family reunion in a nice home in La Jolla a few blocks from the beach – at least that’s how the place was advertised. The owners made no mention of the next-door neighbors who sunbathe naked. Did I mention they’re SEVENTY? The husband sits out there in his deck chair with a glass of Scotch playing with himself and drooling. His wife – also naked (she could really stand to lose some weight!) – would come out from time to time and shrug apologetically at our kids who were gawking from the second-floor windows. She’d try to cover him with a towel but he just tossed it off cackling maniacally. Not in the property description!
These same people had a little white dog who was constantly pooping on our home’s front lawn although we were at a loss to figure out how such a tiny animal could be generating as much excrement as a pack of St. Bernards. But it pretty much made the front grass area unusable.
Did I mention the dead rats? They were all over the yard! You’d think there was some kind of plague going on here and in point of fact, the neighbor lady (Ina or Inga or something like that) informed us that the La Jolla Chamber of Commerce is paying big bucks to keep people from knowing that those deceased rodents are carriers of Bubonic Plague, Typhus, and Hanta Virus. She said we should sue the home owner for not telling us about it or at the very least not advising us to be inoculated for those illnesses before we came. She insinuated that her wanker husband had been “normal” before contracting one of these diseases. (Alas, she declined to name which one.)
Another problem: Parking Control kept tagging our cars for towing insisting that neighbors had reported our six cars for overstaying a 72-hour limit. How could this be? The Inca or Helga lady said that the parking control people are total nazis and often tow cars that haven’t actually violated the statute. She recommended moving our cars every hour just to be safe. (It was a total pain.) She also mentioned that there was an unspoken rule in the neighborhood that the space in front of one’s home is reserved for the owner’s vehicles and that that the neighbors could be very “vindictive.” This Ina or Inga person recommended parking our cars in the one-hour parking on Fay Avenue and taking Uber back and forth. (She said the meter maids never ticket there – local secret.)
As if the rats weren’t bad enough, there was clearly an infestation of cockroaches around the base of the house that were the size of small animals. Ilsa or Erma or whatever her name is said there is a giant colony of them living right under their house and ours. Apparently, they are a mutant strain that frequently come up from the sewer, sometimes in droves, so it would be best not to sit directly on the toilet seat or one could be risking a “nasty surprise in the nether regions.”
We realize that we have probably been making more noise than we should, especially past the 10 p.m. noise curfew, but this IS a family reunion and we came here to party. But our noise is nothing compared to theirs. Their outdoor speakers seem to be pointed in the direction of our house and they seem to prefer drum solos, X-rated rap (we would NEVER let our children listen to such lyrics), and old Mantovani CDs perpetually stuck on “Jamaican Rumba” – all blasted at what seems like 120 decibels. We went over to ask them to turn it down but the creepy husband answered – does he EVER wear clothes? – and said the speaker volume control was broken but they had a service call scheduled for next week. Then he started scratching himself and we couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
We had rented the place for a week but escaped after two days to Alpine (no neighbors!) I think we should take Ima or Ella’s advice and sue the home owners for a refund for this “Vacation Rental By Owner.”