The downside of Airbnb

Unwelcome greeting from a condo.

A warning sign welcomed us during recent stay in an Airbnb accommodation. “Daily/Weekly rental is illegal” was the warning plastered at the entrance to the development and on lift lobbies. And it sounded like they really meant it by stating that we would be considered as trespassers and prosecuted.

That wasn’t the welcome that we were looking forward to after arriving past midnight.

Our host had cautioned us not to speak to anyone or mention anything about Airbnb or renting. But, the whole situation made us feel like criminals waiting to be caught.

During our three-day stay, we did just that — made a quick beeline past the reception, look straight ahead and not speak to anyone, hope nobody got in the lift with us, and only opened our mouths after closing the door to our rented apartment.

As we glanced at those we met along the way — other than the staff — everyone seemed to adopt the same posture. No talking, just straight walking.

It tickled us to think that many of them are also renting an Airbnb unit and were instructed to do so just like us. If we chatted, we would probably be sharing the same story and even have a laugh over the whole thing.

But I guess nobody wanted to take the risk for fear of being evicted and prosecuted.

The warning could not have come about just because only one unit was listed on Airbnb. There must be many more to warrant such an action. Residents must be fed up of strangers staying in their secured compound, especially if the visitors are unruly or noisy. After all, they are tourists and may forget that they are staying in a private home rather than hotel room.

As a home owner myself, I can understand how the condo management must have felt and why such a decision was made.

And this is not the first time or country that we’ve encountered when staying at an Airbnb accommodation.

If such accommodation pose problems for renters, why not just delist them from Airbnb?

From our experience, we only find out the restrictions after we’ve made our booking. Personally, we’d rather not have to live in fear, especially when we’re having a holiday.

Remove the listing and holiday-makers don’t have to deal with such a problem.

This is a downside that Airbnb needs to sort out with the relevant authorities in the countries where it operates. Take away this dampener and we’d opt for Airbnb anytime.

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