Dave Krauss had no idea the people renting his Airbnb property were throwing a wild party that disturbed the neighbors and prompted the police to show up.
Until he got a cease and desist letter, got kicked out of the building, and lost $30,000 in future bookings and legal fees. This happened more than once.
“I was completely unaware of the noise issue that had been going on all weekend,” he said.
“We decided to commercialize it and start a business because so many other people are suffering from their own noise nightmare.”
Then Krauss met Andrew Schulz, an electrical engineer and software expert, who helped him design a solution that could alert him if noise reached a certain level at his properties.
It worked well so the two co-founded NoiseAware, which offers Airbnb and other short-term rental property owners the ability to remotely keep tabs on noise levels.
“We decided to commercialize it and start a business because so many other people are suffering from their own noise nightmare,” Krauss said. “We’ve gotten a lot of traction here.”
The Dallas-based company officially launched Friday, but the devices already have been distributed in 16 states and five countries.
HOW IT WORKS
The NoiseAware monitor plugs into an electrical outlet while also screwing into the faceplate on the outlet. Then, it connects to the Wi-Fi and the user sets different noise thresholds for different times of the day. There are five different settings.
From there, the system runs on its own. Any noise levels that exceed the limit prompt a text message alert for the property owner. Then, the owner can reach out to the tenant, hopefully before the neighbors have been disturbed or the police have been called.
“We’re providing a solution to the No. 1 complaint in the industry.”
“Once I’m aware that there’s an issue, I can make a judgment choice,” Krauss said. “A lot of times, I’ll just text my guests. Every manager has a process for when there’s a noise incident. My guests appreciate that I can do things like that to keep them aware so they don’t get into trouble.”
Krauss described it as a smoke detector for noise. If the unit is unplugged from the wall, another alert is sent to the owner.
The system costs $150 per year for one unit. The price includes the equipment and monitoring. Homes with four bedrooms or more may require additional units to cover the whole house and will run $199 for a year.
The system doesn’t invade the privacy of the tenants. It’s monitoring decibel levels — not what is said or done in the home.
The company is raising seed money now, Krauss said.
Airbnb’s are facing a lot of scrutiny in cities and states because of noise complaints.
Krauss, who still rents out properties, is an advocate for the industry and has testified in front of various governmental bodies about the need to use technology to solve the problem rather than cracking down on short-term rentals.
“We’re providing a solution to the No. 1 complaint in the industry,” Krauss said.
Indeed, noise is one of the top concerns for short-term rental property owners, along with trash and parking.
Short-term/vacation rental managers surveyed recently at a HomeAway conference said that 66.7 percent of them have had to deal with a noise complaint or issue.
Austin-based HomeAway Inc. is a vacation rental marketplace. It has more than 1 million vacation rental listings in 190 countries.
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