Airbnb Rental Scam

An elaborate short-term rental scheme in Carlsbad tricked a young renter and property owner into losing thousands, according to the victims.

The victims, property owner Nick Foster and renter Courtney Hulla, told NBC 7 the scammer used both Airbnb and Craigslist to carry out the scheme.

On Saturday, Hulla found a Carlsbad condo available to rent on Craigslist, or so she thought.

“$650 deposit, $650 rent. We were like it’s a nice area. That seems too good to be true,” said Hulla.

She contacted a man named David, who told her he was the owner of a rental near the Carlsbad Village. He even invited her to the condo, Hulla told NBC 7.

NBC 7 is not publishing the alleged scammer’s last name because he has not been charged with any crime at this point in time.

“Walked up to the place and checked it out. He was doing laundry at the time,” said Hulla. “He said ‘Check out the place,’ you know, ‘You can walk around. I’m packing stuff up and leaving for Chicago on Thursday. This person bailed. Let me know if you like it. We can start moving forward.’

Hulla met David in person twice and said the man shared details about his life, his work and even signed a lease agreement with her.

She paid him one month’s rent and a deposit, as agreed, totaling $1,300. He gave her a set of keys.

“There’s no way this guy’s trying to do anything, scam me. He’s being too real about it,” said Hulla.

Hulla still felt uneasy, so she went to test out the keys at the condo. She noticed a light on inside and texted David, the so-called owner.

“‘I think that there are people, there are people in there. Can you explain that?’ He was like, ‘Oh they’re my aunt and uncle, just don’t scare them,’” Hulla said.

Turns out that the couple had rented the place through Airbnb from the real condo owner, Nick Foster, a Carlsbad resident.

“He made the condo his own. He acted like he owned it to sell his con to someone,” Foster said.

Foster told NBC 7, David, who had rented the condo through Airbnb before, also stole two portable AC units and other belongings over his two-week stay.

Both Hulla and Foster have reported the incident to the police. Foster has also contacted Airbnb.

“You have a conman on your platform and that he’s clearly done this before and he’s gonna do it again,” said Foster.

Neither has heard from David again.

Hulla was not able to cancel the payments she had made through the Facebook app and PayPal.

Carlsbad Village Condos

“It used to be the Village by the Sea. But it’s not a village anymore when you can build buildings that are four stories tall…really five when you count the top deck.”

DeeDee Trejo was born and raised in Carlsbad. She operates Lola’s Seven-Up Market on Roosevelt Street. It was founded by her family in Carlsbad’s first neighborhood, the so-called Barrio, a historic residential area between I-5 and the Carlsbad Boulevard/101 just south of Carlsbad Village Drive. Lola’s opened in 1943, nine years before Carlsbad became a city.

Trejo’s family lives near the market. “I can’t even have a BBQ at my house and have people over because they can’t find a spot to park.”

The Carlsbad city council last week made some changes to its Village and Barrio Master Plan approved last year. But unchanged is the fact that four-story buildings (45 feet maximum) can still be built in the downtown Village business district. Village parking regularly overflows into the adjacent Barrio district.

Consider the under-construction State Mixed Use 30 development, a four-story mixed-use project on the corner of State and Oak streets. It sits on the border of the Village and Barrio districts. The first floor is designated commercial while the second, third and fourth floors will be 27 condos (14 for sale, 13 time shares). The project is being built with 33 on-site spaces dedicated to the residents. Any overflow residential parking and all the commercial parking will have to find parking space in the already overwhelmed streets of the Village and Barrio districts.

How was this development allowed to happen? Carlsbad senior planner Scott Donnell says the city planning commission signed off on it after the developer agreed to pay for 20 “in lieu parking fees.” This means that instead of providing adequate parking as mandated by law, the city allowed the developer to pay approximately $11,000 for each space into a city fund. That pot of cash is to be used by the city to acquire property for parking and/or build a parking structure.

Donnell says at present he is not aware of any plans for Carlsbad to buy property or build a parking structure.

Link to Reader article

Two Eye-Popping Sales

When this house on Rios sold for $8,250,000 in March, 2019, it was the highest non-oceanfront sale in the history of Solana Beach.

The homeowner put it on the open market for $9,750,000 in September, and it went pending in 36 days.  It closed this week for $8,595,000 and the buyer paid the commissions, which makes it look like an effective $9,000,000 sale – which is a 9% return in eight months!  Both sales were all-cash.

Here’s a look at a sale at the top of the hill in Carlsbad that sold for $450,000 over list price:

Lowering The Train Tracks

The lowering of the train tracks in Carlsbad has been discussed for years, and it looks like it’s going to happen.  The number of trains is expected to DOUBLE to 100 PER DAY!

The Carlsbad City Council received an update from the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) on a future project to potentially lower the railroad tracks in Carlsbad’s downtown railroad corridor.

In anticipation of train traffic doubling through Carlsbad by 2035, a second set of train tracks will need to be built alongside the existing tracks. The city is exploring the alternative of lowering the future double tracks beneath the existing street elevations through the Village and Barrio areas in Northern Carlsbad.

The City of Carlsbad, SANDAG and North County Transit District completed a study in 2017, determining that lowering the railroad tracks in a trench, beneath the existing street elevations, is technically feasible and has economic benefit. Two alternatives are now under evaluation: short trench and long trench alternatives.

Both alternatives would lower the double railroad tracks beginning from the Buena Vista Lagoon in the City of Oceanside, require replacement of the Carlsbad Boulevard overcrossing with a new bridge spanning the tracks and replace the railroad bridge across Buena Vista Lagoon.

The short trench alternative, which spans 6,000 feet, would construct vehicle overpasses at Grand Avenue, Carlsbad Village Drive, and Oak Avenue, with pedestrian overpasses at Beech Avenue/Carlsbad Village Station and Chestnut Avenue.

The long trench alternative spans 8,400 feet to include vehicle overpasses at Grand Avenue, Carlsbad Village Drive, Oak Avenue, Chestnut Avenue and Tamarack Avenue, with a pedestrian overpass at Beech Avenue/Carlsbad Village Station.

Lowering the railroad tracks below street level is reported to have a variety of benefits, including:

  • Improved roadway circulation: Eliminates the need to stop at crossing gates multiple times a day, improving traffic circulation for drivers, public safety and first responders
  • Increased car and pedestrian safety: Creates a positive barrier separating cars and pedestrians from crossing the tracks
  • Decreased environmental impacts: Reduces noise impacts from train horns and eliminates the need for crossing bells
  • Positive economic impacts: Considers the value of lives, time saved, walkability and railroad operations

Next Steps

SANDAG is currently preparing an analysis study on the two options for lowering the railroad tracks in a trench. A draft report is estimated to be completed in fall 2019, at which point public input will be sought on the short trench and long trench alternatives.

Link to article @ City of Carlsbad website

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