Infuriated neighbours have described the misery of living next to a rowdy Airbnb where locals are kept awake by rowdy guests soaking themselves in hot tubs and blaring music from karaoke rooms.
Residents in Great Baddow near Chelmsford, Essex say they can’t sleep because of the incredible noise coming from the Essex Stays retreat, a former pub-turned-Airbnb complete with its own cocktail bar, where up to 20 revellers can stay for £2,100-a-night.
Rishi Sunak was yesterday forced to apologise for the inconvenience caused to pensioner Jeff Jones, who confronted the Prime Minister about the noisy ‘party house as he announced a £160million crackdown on antisocial behaviour – including giving landlords powers to evict tenants who disrupt their neighbours and forcing Airbnb hosts to register on a database.
Mr Jones, a retired entertainment company buyer, and his wife Brenda moved into their three-bedroom detached house at the back of the venue in 2010 when it was still a 17th century pub.
But he said the pub closed in 2018 and was bought by a company which applied for planning consent to run it as a ‘short term self-catering holiday let’.
Neighbours have described the misery of living next to a so-called ‘luxury staycation venue’ (pictured) in Great Baddow near Chelmsford, Essex after Rishi Sunak apologised over the inconvenience it has caused
Local residents said they were kept awake by loud music, shouting, swearing and guests socialising in a hot tub (pictured) at the Essex Stays retreat
They told how they had complained repeatedly to council officials about noise from the former King’s Head pub which includes a cocktail bar and karaoke room, but nothing has been done
He said: ‘The new owners assured us that there would be less activity than when it was a pub, and they would do their upmost to keep the noise down.
‘We lived next to the pub for years, so we expected a bit of noise. But the problem with this venue and others which advertise on places like Airbnb is that there is no supervision.
‘People make their booking, get a key code to get in and that is it. They are then left to their own devices.
‘It is being advertised as a venue for hen weekends, birthday parties and other events so of course guests are going to want to let their hair down.
‘We were told that guests would not be allowed in the garden after 10pm of 10.30pm – but nobody Is there to enforce the rules.
‘They were developing the place during Covid and opened up last April. The first thing they did was put a ten person hot tub in the garden, and converted outbuildings into the karaoke room and cocktail bar.
Local resident Jeff Jones, 73, said: ‘It is being advertised as a venue for hen weekends, birthday parties and other events so of course guests are going to want to let their hair down’
The former King’s Head pub which is now a ‘luxury staycation venue’ called Essex Stays
A view of a patio at the Essex Stays venue in Great Baddow
Residents say they were told that guests would not be allowed in the garden (pictured) after 10pm of 10.30pm but ‘nobody is there to enforce the rules’
The Airbnb doesn’t have an alcohol licence, but people can bring along their own drinks, or there is a facility to hire a cocktail waiter service which needs a special temporary licence each time. The property’s bar area is pictured
An aerial view of the back garden at Essex Stays, which features a patio, barbecue and hot tub
‘They don’t have an alcohol licence, but people can bring along their own drinks, or there is a facility to hire a cocktail waiter service which needs a special temporary licence each time.
‘People pay a lot of money to stay there and you can’t blame them for wanting to enjoy themselves. It’s unrealistic to think they will abide by guidelines
‘They might be partying in the garden all afternoon long. It means we have to sit indoors with windows closed and the TV turned up if we don’t want to hear the loud music and bad language.
Anti-social behaviour clampdown at a glance:
Drugs: Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, will be banned because of reported links between the drug and nuisance or anti-social behaviour. Police will also be given new powers to drug test suspected criminals on arrest for substances including cannabis, speed and ketamine.
Flytipping: Fines for fly tipping, graffiti and littering will be increased up to £1,000, and council league tables will be published for fly tippers.
Begging: It will be made an offence for criminal gangs to organise begging networks for extra cash.
Reporting tool: A one-stop-shop for reporting anti-social behaviour will be developed, which will also provide updates on what action is being taken by local police and councils.
Community payback: Offenders will be made to wear high-vis vests or jumpsuits as they pick up litter, remove graffiti and wash police cars as punishment for their actions. Victims of anti-social behaviour will get a say in the punishment.
Unruly tenants: Landlords and housing associations will get more powers to evict unruly tenants who ruin neighbours’ lives through disorderly behaviour.
Empty shops: Councils will be granted new powers to quickly take control and sell off empty shop buildings.
Youth services: Youngsters in areas with the highest rates of anti-social behaviour will get an extra one million hours of youth services to prevent offending.
Green spaces: Up to £5million will be spent making parks and green spaces safer, with CCTV, playground repairs and planting more trees and flowers.
‘There are speakers on the decking beside the hot tub, so music is normally playing when people go for a dip.
‘We have complained to the council on numerous occasions and compiled logs of all the disturbances. A council officer sometimes comes out, but by the noise may have stopped by time he gets here.
‘I know the council has spoken to the owner a few times, and told her there have been multiple complaints, but nothing has improved.
‘It disrupts your life. Some of the noise is very loud, even in the afternoons. It means you can’t hold zoom meetings because of the background disturbance.’
Mr Jones said he was now fearful that a large see-through dining pod in the garden, currently filled with scatter cushions, might be used for glamping and create even more noise.
He said he had decided to speak to Mr Sunak after being invited along by Chelmsford MP Vicky Ford to listen to the prime minister’s policy announcement at the Chelmsford Boxing Club.
He added: ‘The prime minister told me it was all part of the same problem about anti social behaviour.
‘What you don’t expect is for it to be a problem in a nice little area alike this. It is annoying for everybody.’
Executive assistant Charlie Carrington, 37, who also lives nearby said she had been forced to move her five-year-old son into a different bedroom to try and escape noise from the venue.
She said: ‘The noise is really bad, especially at weekends when it is sunny and warm, and people want to party all the time in the garden. I get woken up every weekend that someone is there
‘The noise sometimes makes my TV rattle and it is impossible to sit in the garden with friends because you can’t hear each other.
‘There was one Saturday in particular when there was a noisy group for London. They were using foul and racist language, so I had to take my son out of the house as I didn’t want him to hear it.
‘The igloo pod in the garden makes things worse because they can sit in there and keep warm for longer.
‘People are constantly drinking. The more they drink, the louder they get and the less they care about the neighbours.
‘Another time, there was a live singer who was actually brilliant, but she was so loud that it felt like you were at a festival. As much as she was a good singer, I didn’t want to hear it.
‘There was another group which had the garden full of inflatables to jump around on, so there was loads of noise from air pumps
‘Whatever sound system they have got, it is very loud with lots of bass.
‘When it first opened I would talk to the owner, but nothing was done and lines of communication went downhill. I have since called the council countless times.’
The venue is is being advertised as a venue for hen weekends, birthday parties and other events. Pictured: The dinning area decorated to celebrate a bride-to-be
A view of a bathroom in the Essex Stays Airbnb located in Great Baddow
A tent in the back garden that might be used for glamping. Neighbours fear this could create even more noise
An view of the property’s cocktail bar and karaoke rooms
An interior view of the Essex Stays venue in Great Baddow
A photo of a bathroom in the Essex Stays venue in Great Baddow
The property in January this year that they wanted to ‘minimise noise disturbance’. Pictured: A view of the home’s kitchen
Finance worker James Hemming, 43, who has a 12-year-old daughter and ten-year-old son, and also lives behind the venue said he had high hopes that the holiday let business would be ‘a bit like a hotel’ when it opened. One of the bedrooms is pictured above
A resident who lives nearby said: ‘It’s not such a problem now as it was when it was a pub. There is not too much to worry about it.’ Pictured: The facility’s dining area
Finance worker James Hemming, 43, who has a 12-year-old daughter and ten-year-old son, and also lives behind the venue said he had high hopes that the holiday let business would be ‘a bit like a hotel’ when it opened.
But he said: ‘It is an unpoliced event venue. There is nobody keeping a check on noise. It can go on until 1am or 2am.
‘They can still be playing their music in the early hours, although it is not 24/7 because you don’t have people there all the time. But when they do have guests, some of them abuse it. The language is particularly bad sometimes.’
Thomas Green, 32, and wife Laurren, 29, who are expecting their first baby in July said they were taken aback by noise from the venue when they moved into their house at the rear last summer.
He said: ‘We both work in finance. One Friday afternoon, the music was so loud that neither of us could make client calls because of the noise in the background.
‘It is worrying knowing we have got a baby on the way. It is nerve racking thinking about having to keep our windows closed if we have 40C temperatures again.
‘Most Friday afternoons, we find ourselves looking at their car park, and wondering how many people are going to be staying. It has made life difficult.
‘We have complained to the council about five times with phone calls and online, but a lot of the time we don’t bother.’
But one resident who lives in a cottage next door to the venue, said he was not bothered by any noise.
The man who asked not to be named said: ‘It’s fine. I don’t have any problem with it at all. I would rather have the building in use, than it be empty.
‘The couple who run it are very nice. They are always polite and respectful to me.’
Another resident who lives nearby said: ‘It’s not such a problem now as it was when it was a pub. There is not too much to worry about it.’
The owners of Essex Stays did not respond to requests from MailOnline for comment. But they pledged to a local newspaper in January this year that they wanted to ‘minimise noise disturbance’.
Chelmsford City Council confirmed it had received some complaints from residents.
An exterior placard signifying that the former King’s Head pub is now the Essex Stays venue
There is large see-through dining pod in the garden, currently filled with scatter cushions
There are speakers on the decking beside the hot tub, so music is normally playing when people go for a dip, neighbours allege
A view of the exterior garden at the former King’s Head pub which is now a luxury staycation venue called Essex Stays
A look inside the glamping tent in the back garden of the property
As part of the Government’s crackdown on antisocial behaviour, landlords will be given the power to evict tenants who disrupt their neighbours, cause damage to their property or fall behind on their rent within two weeks.
All new private tenancy agreements will need to include clauses which ban antisocial behaviour and the notice period for eviction on these grounds will be shortened from four to two weeks, The Times reported.
Being ‘persistently problematic tenants’ will be grounds for eviction.
The plans also mean that evictions will be carried out more quickly, with proposals to prioritise cases in court.
The new legislation will also require judges to consider the impact on neighbours, landlords and housemates, and if the tenant has failed to manage their behaviour.
A Renters Reform Bill will outline the changes, and will also include protection for tenants, such as bans on no-fault evictions and on rent rises more than once a year.
In a bid to crack down on ‘party houses’, homeowners who rent out their properties on Airbnb will also have to register on a new database, which will help local authorities to deal with complaints.
The proposals are part of Rishi Sunak’s plans to put an end to nuisance staycation ‘party houses’
Under his action plan, drug testing of criminals will be more prevalent, on-the-spot fines for graffiti and fly-tipping will be increased and more money will be ploughed into youth centres in a bid to improve neighbourhoods
The proposals are part of Mr Sunak’s plans to put an end to nuisance staycation ‘party houses’.
The Government intends to stop short-term accommodation ‘importing anti-social behaviour’ into neighbourhoods.
‘We will do this by setting up a new registration scheme giving local authorities the data to easily identify short-term lets in their area,’ it said. ‘If a let proves problematic, they can take action against guests and owners.’
The Government said it would publish a consultation on the scheme shortly.
Stressing the importance of ‘strong communities built on values’, Mr Sunak insisted that anti-social behaviour was ‘not the type of country we are and that is why it is important we do something about it’.
Under his action plan, drug testing of criminals will be more prevalent, on-the-spot fines for graffiti and fly-tipping will be increased and more money will be ploughed into youth centres in a bid to improve neighbourhoods.
Proposals for ‘immediate justice’ will aim to make perpetrators repair and clean up their mess and damage within 48 hours of being handed community orders.
Offenders will be made to wear high-vis vests or jumpsuits and work under supervision while picking up litter, removing graffiti and even washing police cars.
Victims of anti-social behaviour will be given a say in how criminals are disciplined to ensure justice is visible and fits the crime, according to the Department for Levelling Up.
And in what is being called ‘hotspot policing’, some areas will trial the deployment of extra patrols.
Residents in hotspots such as Cornwall and the Peak District have complained that short-term private holiday lets have had a significantly detrimental impact on their communities, with second homes lying vacant for much of the year.
Analysis has suggested one in every four homes is used for Airbnb in some parts of England.
Airbnb has soared in popularity since homeowners first started renting out their properties with the online service in around 2009.
It has coincided with a boom in the domestic travel industry, with holidaymakers opting to stay in the UK. But there have also been occasions where renters have held parties, in contravention of Airbnb policies.
In 2017, Greater Manchester Police were called when dozens of young people descended on a suburban semi-detached home in Droylsden advertised at just £50 a night.
And more than 50 Met police officers were needed to shut down a 150-strong gathering at an Airbnb property in London in 2020, in contravention of coronavirus curbs.
In a bid to crack down on ‘party houses’, homeowners who rent out their properties on Airbnb will also have to register on a new database, which will help local authorities to deal with complaint
Mr Sunak yesterday apologised to a 73-year-old man who said a pub in his Essex village had been turned into a holiday let, with loud music, boozy parties and swearing deep into the night
Police will also be given new powers to drug test suspected criminals on arrest for substances including cannabis, speed and ketamine
Fly-tipping and grafittiing will be punishable with fines of up to £1,000 under plans Mr Sunak unveiled in Essex today
Earlier this month, a university couple were fined for breaching lockdown rules after hosting a birthday party that led to a £2million Airbnb Sandbanks mansion being trashed in March 2021.
There were reports of drug paraphernalia and laughing gas canisters being left behind. The property’s owner, businessman Nick Briant, told the court it cost ‘about £1,000 of deep cleaning, cleaning carpets and repainting walls’ to fix the damage.
An Airbnb spokesman said: ‘Parties are banned on Airbnb and our industry-leading prevention technology blocked more than 84,000 people in the UK from making certain unwanted bookings last year.
‘Our 24/7 hotline for neighbours means anyone can contact us directly about a concern with a listing and we investigate and take action.
‘We are committed to being good partners to local communities in the UK, and have long supported the introduction of a national short-term lets register to give authorities better visibility of activity in their area.’