Airbnb and the Real World
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  • RCPreader

    This article chooses a very poor vehicle through which to fight NYC’s excessive tax and regulatory environment.

    There are very good reasons why it is illegal to rent out one’s apartment as a hotel room, the biggest being the impact on the neighbors. There have been innumerable cases of one or two-day renters disturbing and endangering neighbors with wild parties, loud music, fire alarms, and illegal activities. (Sometimes, the rooms are in fact rented by locals for the express purpose of engaging in illegal activities.) And, security is always a concern in NYC, so apartment buildings have doormen, access codes, or both, and these measures are completely thwarted by giving total strangers access to the building.

    Actual hotels have staffs to ensure that guests do not disturb others and to provide a measure of security — though security is still lower than in most apartment buildings, a sacrifice you voluntarily make when traveling. People who mail their keys to strangers and go away are hardly hoteliers.

    AirBNB is a classic case of some individuals profiting while shifting much of the cost onto other, unwilling, uncompensated parties — neighbors and building owners. It is theft.

  • ShadrachSmith

    Who am I to tell people which rooms they can rent. There must be reasonable zoning for this new service. But as changes go, locals seem to win on this one. And the locals control the zoning. The hotel’s fallback fight will be in the state house.

    This will be a hard fight. The current regulators will mostly side with the industry they know. This is will become part of the platform of independent city office candidates all through the country. If it works as a political winner, it can be done.

  • Steve Tagg

    Last week I was due to take my 2 children skiing (10 and 7) with a bigger group. We had booked a lovely chalet through Airbnb, or so we thought.Sadly, my brother discovered the week before that we had been defrauded. He had struggled to get hold of the owner to clarify directions. When he called Airbnb (eventually getting through) they explained that there was a “technical fault” with that owner – what a euphemism!
    It transpires that they discovered the owner was phishing for customers’ money using them as the intermediary.
    Now call me odd – but I would hope that an “intermediary” would bring something to the table – at a minimum consumer protection, particularly as they claim “security” on their website.
    I was hoping that they would have stepped in and fixed things such that we could have re-booked but, sadly, no. Instead we are left pursuing them in the hope that we get something back.
    This business model is seriously challenged. Until, and unless, AirBnb works harder to protect guests and landlords, there will be scope for a better player. And one bad experience such as mine will put me off..and as many people as I can warn.

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