Here lies the problem. Airbnb Hell has only has two categories for posting: guest or host. Airbnb also only has two categories for complaints: guest or host. There needs to be a third option: neighbors of Airbnb. One by one, every time a long-term tenant moves out of my block, his home is taken over by estate agents running Airbnb units. In a year’s time they have gone from running one flat to six. On multiple occasions, I’ve had entire families in my stairwell sitting there when I get home, unable to get into the Airbnb unit. I’ve had people come down and knock on my door asking for help while I’m on business calls and Skype. There have been parties of 30+ people who have brought their own sound systems. The audible noise of people vomiting and urinating off of an unregulated balcony with no railings out back was particularly disturbing, as is the thought of a guest unknowingly tossing a cigarette butt down the 5-meter empty space beside the unit and causing a fire, or even worse someone falling down and killing himself.
The particular unit above me was listed with the intention of becoming a sort of youth hostel in a residential area. They list the property as ‘sleeps up to 12’ and ‘suitable for events’. It is an open plan unit with one official bedroom. What often happens is a large group books the unit for a big night out in London. The person with the key comes home first and passes out. All the mates come back later after the clubs close and ring every buzzer not knowing how to get in.
There’s something strange going on in unit to my left. The same three lads stay there every couple of weeks, always on a Monday or Tuesday. Once I could not sleep and went outside to view the properties from the street. I saw two people come along and throw rocks at that unit until they were let in. Turns out the host will hang out in the unit if there are no bookings with his mates and party it up. My neighbor who has a business above this property has complained to the host about weed wafting up while he has clients during office hours on weekdays. The host spat at him. He didn’t even bother to lie. I don’t care what recreational activities people take part in. I am as open minded as it comes. However, when my home life (or my neighbor’s business) is in serious detriment because of Airbnb, we have a problem. I don’t live in a warehouse space. I don’t live in a squat. I live in a contained flat that somehow I’ve been able to maintain for ten years and I’m very proud of that fact. The sharing economy can be great. Sometimes though, the sharing economy = the sharing of one’s sanity with strangers getting a good deal.