I am currently with my very first guest from Airbnb. I have been renting my two units successfully for four years but on a monthly basis, from 35 days to 8 months at the time. I had established procedures on checking on my tenants and being very careful to whom I rent. I even learned how conmen work and could recognize them immediately. This first guest of mine was very disrespectful from the very beginning. Due to a mistake on Airbnb’s part they did not charge her the entire amount she owed, and now I cannot collect the balance. I called customer service twice and the second time, the girl said they had no record of my first call. I don’t want to go through the whole story, but after careful review of the posted terms and conditions, hosts need to understand that Airbnb does not protect their interests. Their platform is that they are only an advertising agency and the contract is between guests and hosts. They are not obligated to take care of claims on damages, payment issues, or similar problems. This is not hotel management. You are on your own. Of course, I am very experienced in knowing what my rights and obligations are under the law in my state, and I have no problems filing claims with the court. However, as a host, I don’t vet the tenants and I don’t have their billing information. So, it is almost impossible to file a claim in court against problematic tenants. Airbnb policies are not acceptable. You need to understand that they will not provide any help and they are not obligated to provide protection to hosts. Simply find another place to advertise.
After years of being an Airbnb guest and months of being a host in NYC I’ve concluded something that I long suspected but couldn’t zero in on because I’d never hosted. Airbnb is 100% for people who are using it as a business. This story of them building a community is false. First, from the guest side: ever try to find a whole apartment or house that didn’t look like it was just some real estate guy trying to make tons of cash? I have. Ever finally arrive and never even meet the host? Just put the code in the key safe, right? Ever look through the kitchen and realize that no one has ever used this kitchen because if they did they’d realize that everything necessary to cook was either missing or broken? I have. Not once. Not twice. Every single time.
Now from hosting side. Hosts are treated like a commodity, like they are out to make as much money as possible and will do anything to get the next guest. I wonder why? Because good little hosts accept every single reservation regardless of whether the guest asks, “Can I arrive at 1 AM?” or asks you something like, “I’d love to stay at your place. Where is Brooklyn, anyways?” Or you receive a request at 2 AM for someone who wants the place for your maximum stay length four months in the future. You think I’m exaggerating. I’m not.
This is my home. I live here. I’m not a real estate professional. Generally the tools to connect with the right guests work. You can set the minimum and maximum length. Turnover times. Open and close calendar dates. Seems pretty friendly. If you’re still reading, I’m finally to my point. The kicker: If you aren’t making Airbnb lots of money by renting your home like it’s a freaking hotel they will make your life hell.
Here’s how: 1. They randomly shut down your account for “not accepting.” 2. They modify how your listing shows in results. This is a really big deal because they have all the power and there is no transparency. But the results of this are clear. When you’re making money all the reservation requests are from people with lots of great feedback. When you start getting more selective the people they send your way signed up the night before… with no feedback. No travel experience. No community – you are a hotel to them. And that’s how Airbnb lets you know what a good little host is supposed to be.
Airbnb will never properly vet hosts, or require themselves to be forthcoming about a legal situation where a host is located. There are critical legal issues the company is having with some major cities, such as New York, Barcelona, and the company’s own hometown of San Francisco. Airbnb’s goal is to make money, period, and thus the company will not be heavily concerned about any complaints. As long as folks keep trying to get a short term rental in places that are trying to curtail this behavior, or in places WHERE IT IS ILLEGAL, the company will keep making money, and to hell with hosts and guests who run into problems. In short, Airbnb has no incentive to discontinue their terrible behavior. Just the opposite. I would not in a million years <a href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/29/technology/airbnb-sues-san-francisco-over-a-law-it-had-helped-pass.html”>rent a short term whole apartment or home Airbnb in New York City</a>.For the seemingly endless array of folks reserving short term rentals in NYC, getting into serious problems with the cancellations, and screaming “Never Again!”: GET A CLUE and GET A HOTEL.