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    • In our residential area, some company is buying houses and converting them to airbnb rentals. It often means they add bedrooms and baths, with less common area.

      Our friends who live next to them experience a revolving door of renters, some of whom really like to partay. Our friends want to leave the windows of their homes open but the noise and cigarette smoke are bummers.

      Last night one of them apparently flicked his cigarette into a trash can, which burned, melted and set the fence on fire. That's one good thing about trying to sleep with the windows open: you can smell the smoke before your house catches fire and burns down.

      They called the police, who said nothing they can do, it's a civil matter. So now they're going through the process of figuring out who the anonymous company is who owns the house.

      Sometimes at neighborhood parties, the talk breaks out into "I hope an Airbnb rental company doesn't buy the home for sale next to us."

    • I'm a little surprised that you don't have zoning ordenances that regulate that. I live in Spain and Airbnb is always getting into legal tiffs with municipalities, the hotel industry and individuals as well. Doesn't really stop them, but it does slow them down, and it definitely discourages the formation of companies to exploit the platform.

    • I had a relative who had a completely horrible Airbnb stay. Heat wave with no A/C. Met with ambivalence from both Airbnb as well as the homeowner, and basically got screwed. They've done a lousy job at fostering the kind of arbitration tools a sharing community needs. Boatsetter is a little more hands-on with arbitration. But that's not a particularly scalable arrangement; they're just lucky that they're small at the moment.

    • It's one of those things where you can have great experiences or awful ones, kindof like bidding on eBay. I was listening to a podcast yesterday where Ezra Klein asked his host, don't we freak out about every new thing being used for evil, making our kids rude, etc.? And his guest replied yes, we have to learn how to navigate them. They can all—books, TV, cars, social media—be used both for good and evil, we just have to get good at them to be able to parse.

    • Just to add some random convo, when I moved to Alaska in 2000 and was going to purchase my 1st home, the discussion or listings were always talking about "covenents". I thought what is the big deal? I found out quickly. Especially in Alaska there is an attitude of "hey, we don't care what they do in the lower 48". I was seriously looking at a nice home on a bluff on two acres but took some time to drive the hood. Just adjacent was a property with probably 30 rusted cars parked in their weeds. Another property look immaculate and another looked like a crack den.

      Yes, when I moved to Vegas, everything looks like cookie-cutter stucco but growing up in the Bay Area it seems to be there was mostly an unwritten and unspoken rule not to make your property a liability. It seems no more. I know neighbors are totally pissed what Zuckerberg did to his "little" neighborhood.

      Nowadays with AirBnb and neighborhood sober living houses, my next home purchase will be in a neighborhood with fairly strick covenents.

    • Geeeez. That is really bad. I remember a few years ago in Los Altos some high school kids rented a home that was being listed on Airbnb for a party. Got out of control, as high school parties, do. Lots of the residents' cars on the street were damaged, cops were called.

    • I've been worried about Airbnb being a little bit awful for awhile, same as I feel about Facebook and Uber.

      For example, this story: Digital Exile: How I Got Banned for Life from AirBnB

      It isn't so much that someone got mistakenly banned, that happens everywhere. It's...who approved this wording and process?

      We regret to inform you that we’ll be unable to support your account moving forward, and have exercised our discretion under our Terms of Service to disable your account(s). This decision is irreversible and will affect any duplicated or future accounts.

      Please understand that we are not obligated to provide an explanation for the action taken against your account. Furthermore, we are not liable to you in any way with respect to disabling or canceling your account. Airbnb reserves the right to make the final determination with respect to such matters, and this decision will not be reversed.

      Some people say use VRBO, which I have since 1994, just like use Lyft instead of Uber.

    • RE: sober living houses—there are two duplexes for sober living on my block. They are the best looking homes in the neighborhood. They have to comply with city, county, and state inspections. They are professionally landscaped and the exteriors and interiors must comply to state-enforced “covenants.” The expectations are high, and the residents comply. While other residents in the neighborhood have been visited by law enforcement officers, these two properties have never had law enforcement called in. Kind of a switch from what people generally assume.

    • Gotta be honest: Airbnb really sketches me out.

      I just got home from a lovely two week vacation during which I stayed at a bunch of hotels all across the country. I loved knowing that each night when I arrived I'd have a nice private room waiting for me with clean sheets, pillows, and towels.

      With Airbnbs, you never know what you're gonna get. Will the sheets have weird stains on them? Will the pillows smell funny? Will you have to make small-talk with the host for an hour? Ugh.

      I'll take a boring hotel room over an Airbnb any day. Especially when using Airbnb means contributing to the housing crisis.

    • I think the owners and managers I've dealt with in VRBO take rental property management extremely seriously or hire someone who does, so I've had nothing but great experiences from VRBO. They don't treat it like a side hustle. They have the AC tech on call. They have a handyman service on call. Cleaning services... They even have a valet service roll the trash cans out and dump the trash, so tenants don't need to know the local trash schedule. Alot of thought had gone into how to run their vacation rental smoothly.

      The last stay I had with VRBO was over Independence day. We called in just to say fyi, the sink drains slow. Not a big deal. In less than an hour some guy is over there snaking the drain.

      With airbnb... It's more of a side hustle it seems. Getting out of the house is about as much effort as taken. Good luck on nothing breaking.

    • Unlike the sober living residences in my neighborhood, the Airbnbs are basically unregulated. I live near some world-class ski resorts, so there is a high demand for accommodations that are cheaper than the resorts themselves, which are quite high-end. Chris is right—this creates the perfect storm for side-hustles. The city and the county cannot afford to divert law enforcement resources to police the plethora of non-permitted short-term rentals, which are mostly illegal “mother-in-law” additions. Some “hosts” are elderly people who need the second income, some are investment property owners, some are out-of-state owners who purchased a property for their college-age kids to use while they went to school and after the kids graduate, they turn it over to a property management company (run by college kids)... The penalty for operating an illegal short-term rental is negligible and enforcement is nonexistent. If you are a short-term guest, you really have no recourse if things are sub-par. It’s a crap shoot.

    • There was a big article in The Information, which requires a subscription, so I'll summarize: Airbnb has a dedicated team of 300 people who deal with governments. They try to deal on the state level so cities cannot pass their own restrictions. However, San Francisco and Santa Monica got favorable court rulings, so that emboldened San Diego to try.

      From the article:

      Meanwhile, the company suffered a blow last month in San Diego, when city council members bucked an Airbnb-backed measure and instead passed one of the toughest new regulations in the country, banning people from renting more than just their primary residences on short-term rental platforms. The author of the bill, first-term council member Barbara Bry, said she looked toward cities like San Francisco and Santa Monica, which in recent years have gotten favorable court rulings against Airbnb, as models.

      “The world changed” after those court cases, Ms. Bry said. She added she was looking to retain the original intent of Airbnb—renting out spare bedrooms rather than full homes. “It’s become an industry in which investors are snapping up homes and condominiums in single-family neighborhoods and [making] them into mini-hotels.”

    • So one potential downside I see to this type of restriction. If cities say people can only rent their primary residence as a vacation rental, someone with a vacation condo that happens to be in one of these jurisdictions will no longer be able to offer it on VRBO or other sites. It seems like Airbnb abusers are ruining it for both homeowners and renters who have been using HomeAway and VRBO for a long time. We love renting homes or apartments when we travel, and I'm afraid because of this the prospects will be narrower.