‘Most fun home in Wisconsin’ on Airbnb not a hit with its neighbors

By Sarah Razner

 One day this past winter, Sarah Kirchhoff could feel in her chest the bass of music being played at her next-door neighbor’s home on Overland Trail in the town of Empire, just east of Fond du Lac. She decided to talk to those renting the home about it.

Women staying there said they would take care of the noise, but then a man began yelling at her, Kirchhoff said.

“That was the first time I’ve been afraid in my own neighborhood,” she said. “After that, I was like, ‘I’ll never go to the renters again.’”

A few months prior to the incident, Kirchhoffs’ neighbors started renting their home on short-term vacation rental sites like Airbnb and VRBO. Since that time, renters had filled the home nearly every weekend and the property had become what Kirchhoff described as “loud all day and loud all night.”

Around the country, short-term rentals are on the rise. Through websites like Airbnb and VRBO, people from around the world can list homes or apartments to rent on a short-term basis, whether a night or a week. In Fond du Lac County in June, about 30 were listed on the website VRBO and more than 60 were listed on Airbnb.

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