Company aims to improve short-term rentals for homeowners, neighbors

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SAN DIEGO -- San Diego is home to more than 12,000 short-term rentals and is the fastest-growing market in the country, according to property management company Pillow.

Many San Diego residents, especially in the beach areas, contend their quality of life is suffering because of increased noise from heavy partying and overcrowding. In May, homeowners packed a San Diego City Council meeting and expressed how vacation rentals are ruining their quality of life.

“They don’t care because they’ll be gone in a few days, never held accountable,” said one Ocean Beach homeowner.

“With more density, we’re getting the screaming drunks that party hardy all the time,” another homeowner said.

Pillow CEO and San Diego native Sean Conway said his company is working to alleviate those types of issues.

“You can go travel or do whatever you want and your mind doesn’t have to be like, ‘Hey are those guests actually causing trouble?’ because Pillow’s there,” Conway said.

Conway said Pillow aims to standardize the host and guest experience for a growing percentage of the population participating in the home-sharing economy powered by services such as Airbnb and HomeAway. The company provides 24/7 guest support and does the key exchange and cleaning to minimize anxiety for the owner of the home and even the neighbors.

We vet every single guest beforehand and then even during the process, we have an app that each one of these guests have so we can text them, notify them, if there is any situation,” Conway said.

Gareth Edmonson-Jones knows owning a home in San Diego means tourist dollars. Since he travels for business a majority of the year, he’s decided to put his two-bedroom Ocean Beach home up for short-term rental through Pillow.

“When you think about how much money is tied up in your home, this is the best way I know how to make money from it,” Edmonson-Jones said. “If you’re away from your house for 3 or 4 months then you’ve got someone looking after it. So think of it also as a house sitter -- that way it’s not only making money for you but you’ve got someone looking out for you."

Pillow operates in four cities, including San Diego.

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