A trio of young guys who dined on daily Ramen thought they might make some extra money by renting out a room in their San Francisco apartment for a night or two. Turns out they did make some extra money so they decided to do it again…and again…and again. They told their friends and their friends did the same thing and they told their friends and all of a sudden, some 9 years later, Airbnb has 4M host listings in 81,000 cities in 191 countries throughout the world.
By the way, these three guys who don’t eat a lot of Ramen any more and their privately held company that provides peer-to-peer property rentals posted $2.6B in revenue in 2017.
Now, AirBnb and its rental booker cohorts like Vacation Rentals By Owners (VRBO), Booking.com, and Expedia Home Away are having code compliance problems big time, all over the world. It turns out that many cities don’t want short-term renters…renters who trash residential neighborhoods or have raucous parties throughout the nights in mega mansions or have target practice competitions with live ammunition.
The Hollywood Hills, New York, Boston, Chicago, Millbrae (it’s in Silicon Valley) and small town America/Europe/Asia are banning short-term rentals. In fact, “You can’t throw a rock in any country right now without hitting a city that’s moving to more aggressively regulate short-term rentals,” said David Wochsmith, an assistant professor at McGill University’s School of Urban Planning and a long-term analyst of companies such as Airbnb and VRBO.
When code compliance officers inform guests who are taking their suitcases out of their cars, hosts or landlords that short-term rentals are not allowed in particular restricted areas, many often respond that they “didn’t know” or that “they are my friends and they’re staying over night for free” or that they “…are just helping landlords earn passive income…” to ward off bankruptcy or foreclosure.
One such New York management company, Vacayo, rents properties long-term and then leases them to short-term renters. Vacayo “runs” four such properties in Miami and has accumulated +$700,000 in fines for renting to short-term guests in restricted areas of Miami.
Likely you and/or your friends, family, clients, whomever, have been guests and/or hosts with Airbnb. Perhaps you’ve even marketed a listing or two as ideally suited for an Airbnb property.
A word to the wise…know your local code restrictions regarding short-term rentals while continuing to love or hate Airbnb.