IF AIRBNB CAN MAKE $$$s OUT OF DEATH, DESTRUCTION AND NEIGHBOURS' MISERY...
The lead up to Christmas traditionally means a wind down from work and lots of fun parties. Throw an Airbnb party house into the mix and in the US that means a barrage - 55 actually – gunshots fired in a residential street, with one neighbour injured after a bullet crashed through her window. Of course a statement released by Airbnb said: “This senseless violence has no place in our (Airbnb) communities…We have removed the booking guest from our platform and are in touch with the host to provide support through our $1 Million Host Guarantee and Host Protection Insurance programs.” No mention of the neighbours and support for their family members.
In the US again, Airbnb is rolling out a ‘hotline for mayors and city officials’. The hotline is part of Airbnb’s so-called “ongoing commitment to work with cities and increased communication to ensure safety and privacy standards.” Truly, US mayors and city officials should phone Airbnb on behalf of terrified residents at three in the morning, so an Airbnb ‘customer support’ staffer can jot down details? Perhaps this Christmas, Airbnb might include the real address and landlord’s contact details on all listings so that local authorities can take enforcement action against unlawful operators.
Airbnb has also produced new, “better rules“ to ‘protect the places (they) love’ – our homes. Airbnb says it is “supporting host registration requirements, collecting taxes from guests, and implementing reporting tools for neighbours”. Airbnb breaks national, state and local legislation on a global scale and expect their marketing spin on ‘rules’ will suffice…
In Melbourne this week guns were happily absent – and so too of course was the landlord - when 16 teens destroyed a vacant Airbnb property. You can hear one neighbour’s reaction to and concerns about the out-of-control party here. With at least eight police vehicles plus officers in attendance, plenty of public funds go towards responding to Airbnb festivities.
It is now two years since Minister Matthew Kean asked for examples of Agents “colluding with online booking platforms”. While the State Government’s DestinationNSW continues to lead the offenders, in the past week Byron and Tweed Shire Councils have been gifted the details of 1,000 Airbnb rentals and the Agents involved. Will the New Year see Councils enforcing residential zoning and working to protect our critical housing stock, the proprietary rights of residents and the livelihoods of small, accredited accommodation providers?
While Legislators here steadfastly support Airbnb, Stayz and cohort, a report has warned that more than 5 million people have fallen for bogus listings on such rental sites: "People think it's rare," said Steven Baker, author of the report and an international investigations specialist for the Better Business Bureau. "God I wish I could tell you that's true, but it sure as heck isn't."
Those who must for now live with Airbnb-type rentals in their buildings or neighbourhoods, please do know that Airbnb emailed its NSW landlords yesterday offering to sell a magic bullet – see photo. Alas, it’s no joke. Do stay safe over the holiday period.