Co-founder Pledges To Remove Professional Landlords from Airbnb
In a recent interview with The Sunday Times, Brian Chesky has recently pledged to identify and remove professional landlords from Airbnb. In a move no doubt designed to woo back disgruntled single property hosts the co-founder of Airbnb says he now recognises the problems the platform has contributed to. Of course, the collapse of Airbnb’s IPO may have more to do with this U-turn, bringing Chesky back to the grass roots of his disruptive sharing economy company and his original host profile.
Local governments, worldwide, have attributed a lack of affordable long term housing to short term platforms such as Airbnb. As well as a shortage of housing, complaints have included:
- Litter pollution
- Parking issues
- Criminal behaviour
- Safety of guests in dangerous properties
- Over intensification & over crowding
Chesky intends to identify remote professional landlords by their inability to do meet and greet. Also, whether or not they can personally recommend local amenities. This is a huge message to single property hosts that Airbnb will support them again. In other words, please come back to Airbnb!
Recent months, during the Covid-19 crisis, have seen unhappy hosts delist from the platform due to Airbnb overstepping their authority. The biggest issue is refunding guests, often against hosts’ refund policies.
Professional Landlords on Airbnb
As well as hosts with one property, there are a huge number of professional hosts who let out more than one property. These are difficult times for landlords, therefore the lure of increasing the return of investment on their property is seductive.
- Income doesn’t count towards section 24
- Guests have no security of tenure
- Difficult guests are easily evicted
- The property is maintained easily
There is also the question of agency. Why can’t a property owner choose what they want to do with their own property?
If governments are so concerned about the lack of suitable housing for long term tenants they should build some more. Pledging to commandeer private assets to win votes is not helpful.
What Professional Landlords Should Do About Airbnb
Airbnb, as well as the other OTAs, should only be used as a place for guests to be aware of you. As one of the largest directories on the internet it would be counter-intuitive to not be listed. But, a host should not want to have guests booking through the platforms unless the guests are paying a premium price to cover all the hosts’ costs.
So continue to list whilst you can, but target your property to your ideal guest and make it easy for them to find you off-platform.
If you are a remote landlord unable to do a personal meet and greet service, make sure that you can personally recommend local amenities.
You Need Direct Bookings
Chesky has also pledged to help local authorities identify ‘unscrupulous operators’ by sharing information including transactions. Use the OTAs whilst you can because time is running short, and the local councils want your property.
Now is the time to start gaining bookings through your own presence on the internet. You should never build your house on another’s land, nor should you ever build your business on another’s platform.