While travel season used to be a boon for hotels, it has now turned into a blessing for many homeowners, too, thanks to Airbnb.
The homesharing service is disrupting the hotel industry by providing affordable lodging from people who are willing to open up their homes and rental properties for a quick buck. One advantage that benefits Airbnb guests is that in many cases, they can rent an entire property for several days for what it may cost to stay in a four-star hotel for one night.
But one area that continues to be problematic for Airbnb is when issues arise between guests and hosts. Unlike hotels, many owners remain on the grounds while people stay in their properties.
3 tips for not getting kicked out of your Airbnb rental
Complicating matters is the fact that Airbnb is often left with a he says/she says situation when much of the dialog between parties takes place outside of the app, something the company would prefer not happen.
On its website, Airbnb makes it clear that they would like to facilitate as much of the host-guest interaction as possible, especially when it comes to money.
“Paying or communicating outside Airbnb makes it harder for us to protect your information and puts you at greater risk of fraud and other security issues,” the company says in its help section.
Still, when guest and host can’t come to agreement, is there an amicable solution? Tech news site TechCrunch details a case involving a guest who was unceremoniously kicked out of the home he rented on Airbnb by the host.
“I woke up to a message on my phone that said Airbnb had changed my reservation and that it ended in 36 hours and I was to leave,” Logan Kugler told TechCrunch. “This was a 31-day rental.”
Evidently, Kugler demanded one too many changes, which set the homeowner off. The host told TechCrunch Kugler made her “uncomfortable” because of his numerous requests, like asking to change the layout of the refrigerator and to install different lights.
So she informed Airbnb that she was terminating his stay. She then told Kugler he had a little more than a day to find somewhere else to stay (then she called police). He eventually found new lodgings and was reimbursed by Airbnb for his troubles.
Regardless of who you side with in this situation, it’s clear that in the sharing economy — which includes Uber and similar apps — the rights of the customer may not be as strong as with traditional companies and services.
It’s hard to envision a hotel kicking a customer out because they asked to rearrange some furniture. Then again, many hotels strictly adhere to a one- or two-guest policy, things like no-smoking rules and have a security guard hovering around the front desk.
So is it within Airbnb’s rules to kick somebody out mid-stay? According to company’s terms of service, a host doesn’t have to honor your stay if you breach the company’s contract, which you agree to when you sign up for the service.
If Airbnb determines that a reason for cancellation by either a host or guest falls within Airbnb’s Extenuating Circumstances policy, it may waive any associated penalties outlined in the company’s payments terms of service.
Difficulties aside, Airbnb has proven to be a great way for homeowners to generate supplemental income. If you’re thinking about renting a home somewhere, here are three things to keep in mind:
3 tips on how to be a good Airbnb guest
- Always keep your word: Much of the sharing economy is built on trust. If you say you’re going to arrive at a certain time, for example, honor your commitments — and any house rules.
- Show respect to your host, their possessions & neighbors: “Enjoy your host’s home as if you were staying with friends,” Airbnb says on its site.
- If you’re unsure, just ask: Don’t assume anything not expressly granted to you is yours to use. When it comes to having guests over, for instance it’s a good idea to get your host’s permission beforehand.
Airbnb is a great lodging alternative for people looking for affordable places and more freedom. But as the adage goes, with more freedom comes more responsibility.