The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I have both been a lessee and a lessor through Airbnb. I rented properties both in San Francisco and Playa del Carmen Mexico. I leased half of my home in Breckenridge, CO, a major ski resort, from December 2014 until March 2015. I have two major complaints with Airbnb. First, Airbnb will not publish negative reviews. There are numerous threads on the internet that will corroborate that fact. I can also state that as a fact as I had renters in my home who were destroying my personal property. I had to evict them with assistance from the local police. I posted an honest and truthful review of the incident on the Airbnb website. The review never apeared. As a landlord I find that behavior to be extremely dangerous to my well being. There is virtually no way to discern if a potential lessee has had negative behavior issues with other lessors in the past. Not only do I fear for the safety of my property, but also fear for potential damages to my person. I no longer rent my home on Airbnb for that reason. The Mexican property I rented was grossly misrepresented on the Airbnb website. The furnishings were sub-standard based on the amount of rental paid, and there was so much noise that was not disclosed that we could neither sleep nor work while in the unit. I would suspect Airbnb surpressed any previous negative, or even simply honest, reviews. Airbnb makes absolutely no effort to ascertain the truthfulness of the lessors' claims. No one from Airbnb ever contacted me as a lessor. I could have been renting a shack in my yard for all Airbnb knew. My second complaint is that Airbnb to offsets my rental income from which to reimburse lessees when Airbnb makes any type refund to the lessee with respect to their rental of my property. For example, in the case I had to evict the tenants, Airbnb at first tried to offset the entire amount of rental income paid to me by the lessees for approximately 8 nights of lodging. I had contacted Airbnb midway through the rental to inform them the tenants were causing problems. Airbnb encouraged me not to terminate the rental. They threatened me by saying my Airbnb listing could be terminated if I had to cancel the lease prior to the full term of the lease. Based on that statement I agreed to continue the lease. After several days had passed and the lessee's did not modify their behavior and my personal and real property continued to suffer damages caused by the lessees I called the police and had them evicted one day short of the full stay. Airbnb first told me they would retain my income for the entire stay due to my cancellation of the lease. After I protested they agreed to withhold only one night of rental income. I reviewed my contract with Airbnb and I could not locate any agreement therein that I made that would grant Airbnb a right of offset in such circumstances. I feel if Airbnb wants to reimburse the tenants for any reason not related to my behavior the money should come from Airbnb's pocket not mine. I am a CPA and perform damage calculations as an expert witness in local courts. I was damaged by having my property destroyed as well as by the retention of my rental income. At that point I questioned just who worked for who and concluded that in effect I worked for Airbnb, even though it was my property under rent. I do not believe that Airbnb should be allowed to continue to operate in light of these unfair and possibly illegal practices that they engage in. Airbnb only cares about Airbnb. They could care less about what happens to the lessors, and the lessees. I will never act as lessor or lessee again with Airbnb under these circumstances.