Vacation home renters in Bay Area threatened as they were caught in the middle of short-term rentals debate

2 mins read

A group of friends on vacation in the wine country did not expect to encounter a threatening event.

They rented a home in VRBO but found out on their third day that the tires of their van were cut and a hostile message was left on the garage. They immediately came to realize that they were amid a neighborhood dispute regarding short-term rentals.

“I can’t even believe that this is real, honestly,” Alana Harrison, who is from Kansas, shared to ABC7 News.

They were 11 in the group, she said, and her friend booked a short-term rental for them in the Green Valley neighborhood of Fairfield. They woke up to the painted message and slashed tires on their third morning.

Two separate messages on the garage said: “This is your final warning. The tribe has spoken. Leave this place or else,” and “You have no idea who live on this mountain. Do not underestimate our people!”

“I was terrified. Honestly, I thought it was a joke,” Harrison said. “I don’t understand why they vandalized our car if they wanted us to leave.”

After the incident, the group realized that they were in the middle of contention as their rented space does not have a permit. The home has lately been turned down after the argument from the neighborhood, Solano County Supervisor James Spering said.

“My understanding is that the permit was denied and delayed, and so I was surprised to see they have people staying in it,” Spering shared to ABC7 News, saying that controversy surrounds Green Valley short-term rentals, along with a number of residential neighborhoods in the county.

“It’s concerns about the impact on your neighborhoods, property values, fire risk. Those are the main concerns we’re hearing,” he said.

A neighbor near the short-term rental, Cliff Neal, said he secured a security video from the night the vandalism happened.

A suspect was seen in the video as he entered and ran out shortly from the property.

Neal did not recognize the perpetrator. “No and I hope someone does,” Neal said. “It’s appalling. There’s no one that can justify spray painting and pumping tires.”

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