I don’t really fancy Airbnb, plain and simple. What influenced my stance on Airbnb is through my personal observation on the incoming and outgoing of foreign guests around my apartment recently, thanks to the home sharing website.
I do question the legitimacy of the online marketplace and hospitality service, where home owners or hosts can rent their properties to guests be it on long or short-term purposes, like a hotel or serviced apartment.
It turns out that Airbnb is legal in Malaysia but property managements can ban such activities when it is deemed as necessary. But really, do we need businesses as such operating within private residential properties and areas?
An owner’s nightmare
Yes, you may earn more through renting especially on short-term basis that guarantees faster cash flow! And making it into a business commodity is always a pleasurable thing to do. But your property will always be at risk in the hands of strangers.
A home in Ontario, US was burnt down to the ground while on lease to an Airbnb guest. There were also several cases where homes across Europe were badly damaged by the renters, which include leaking or bursting baths/showers, shattered windows and even Van Gogh artistry proudly shown on the walls. Hosts need to undertake the risks associated with the rentals especially when tragedy strikes. For many, it’s a hard pill to swallow.
Strangers in your own home
Some Airbnb hosts have the tendency to rent vacant rooms in their own homes, which means they will be co-living with the renters underneath the same roof at the same time!
First and foremost, you don’t know who your renters are and you don’t get to meet them before agreeing to rent the place to them. You would only get bits and pieces of information on them through their Airbnb profiles, and you would still question the authenticity of the information.
“Strangers in my own home?”. Wouldn’t that be an eerie thought to live with while having them around the house?
There have been incidents occurred in the US where renters would rob Airbnb homes in broad daylight while the owners were at work or running errands away from their homes. Some have even pulled heists on these rented homes by stealing belongings worth millions of dollars.
Airbnb hosts have also become victims of identity theft as renters would steal confidential information such as social security number, passports and even getting their hands on the owners’ credit cards’ information.
Neighbours aren’t fans of Airbnb
Honestly, the two units away from me have people from India, Uzbekistan, US and even Nigeria renting the place. I had these guests knocking on my door on several occasions in the wee hours of the morning, looking for the Airbnb unit. Imagine how annoyed I was waking up at 3 in the morning just to entertain these lost guests.
Matters like this would leave us, neighbours feeling ‘open and vulnerable’ to these strangers. And please, do not blame us, the neighbours for being paranoid and uptight. Our safety is at stake especially when we have strangers strolling along the corridors unguarded and holding no accountability towards the property and its people.
The paranoia is well shared worldwide. In Japan, Airbnb renters are asked to avoid direct contact with the unit’s immediate neighbours- No looking, no communicating with the neighbours. A stern warning will be given to guests to avoid making noises even while dragging their luggage up to the rented unit. Hosts would emphasise that their neighbours will not hesitate to call the police without consulting the renters or even them.
In Barcelona, the local community is even encouraged to inform the authority on any incoming Airbnb guests in their residential areas. The city council has even fined the home-sharing company on several occasions for violating the city’s law.
You wouldn’t want to know what the guests are up to!
The lesser you know, the better but that’s not the case with Airbnb. Guests are known to throw illegal parties especially when the hosts aren’t co-living with them. Tips like ‘avoid renting during the New Year holidays’ are often given to Airbnb rookie hosts to avoid catastrophe that may ruin their homes forever.
Guests in the US and across Europe are known to throw wild parties in Airbnb rentals. Parties include meth or rave parties and in some dire occasions, the rentals are turned into ‘pop-up brothels’. These post-party scenes aren’t pretty to see and it can be gut-wrenching in terms of gauging its damages!
Well, let’s leave hospitality services to the professionals. The idea of turning your home into a hotel might be appealing and fun, plus, making money along the way couldn’t hurt either.
But think of the repercussions, responsibilities and unforeseen damages that will come hurling your way. Would it be worth risking your property in the long run for fast cash?
em>Featured picture from Confidencial. Images sourced from Wired and Giphy
This entry was written by a disgruntled resident, living within the concrete jungle of Kuala Lumpur. If you have similar experiences like the writer or perhaps contradictory experiences, email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org