2017 will be a challenging year for many landlords, home owners and investors who have been using platforms like Airbnb to earn from renting their homes and properties. Those who have used Airbnb have already started listing houses and apartments on various short-term rental websites, rather than seek long-term renters.
In 2016, Senators Dianne Feinstein of California, Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts requested the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO and other short-term rental service websites are making housing more expensive in certain communities, and/or placing some units completely out of reach except for short-term renters.
Restrictions Imposed On Airbnb And Similar Services
As a proponent of the sharing economy, Airbnb has been questioned about the platform users. The company facilitated 100 million booking nights. However 2016 wasn’t the best one for Airbnb, which found its businesses restricted by increasing regulations. The company has been fined in many countries and hit by restrictive laws in major metropolitan markets such as New York and Berlin. In Berlin, people who let more than 50% of their apartments on a short-term basis without a permit from the city risk a fine of $105,000 (€100,000).
In New York, the State of New York New York state adopted one of the toughest restrictions on Airbnb in the US. The new law authorized fines of up to $7,500 for short-term rentals of fewer than 30 days when the owner or tenant is not present. The authorities argued that by offering residential apartments as short-term rentals, property owners hurt hotels in New York and statewide and also take residential units off New York’s already expensive housing market.
In order to persuade local authorities that it brings business and fills their coffins Airbnb sent its policy chief to promise the mayors of major US cities millions of dollars in tax revenues. The pursuit didn’t proved to be very successful though.
How Enacted Regulations Affect Property Holders?
Starting from November 2016 Airbnb hosts had to agree to the terms of the company’s new anti-discrimination policy, presented as “Community Commitment”. It is designed to create a safer and more welcoming experience for all Airbnb users.
The company’s new policy that pays special attention on “respect and inclusion” came after a series of discrimination issues reported from Airbnb users. Going forward, Airbnb hosts should not be able to “decline a guest based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status” with one exception which allows hosts to decline to rent to someone of a gender other than their own if the host and guest will be sharing living spaces. Host will also be prohibited to decline guests based on disability or perceived disability.
If host violate the Airbnb’s Community Commitment, by posting a listing with discriminatory language, one will be forced to edit the listing or otherwise will face suspension. If any host refuses a rental to someone one also faces for potential suspension. However, there are still ways for host to legitimately reject guests, for example smokers or those who travel with pets.
How Property Owners & AirBnb Hosts To Improve Customer Satisfaction?
See InsMorLo.com (IML) suggestions complemented those of Andrew Pentis of Lifehacker on what he learned to fix in his apartment rent activity, thanks to his guests. Our tips:
- Customers must not wait on check in. One of IML editors told us that he was forced to spend 20 minutes in the cold, in front of the building in Manhattan, waiting for his host to come.
- The place must be very, very, very clean! We mean it. A good host cannot afford guest to find dust behind the bed or in any corners of the room(s). A bathroom, not clean enough is also terrible.
- Have new towels of good quality in the bathroom. Guests will appreciate it.
- Quality coffee machine. We mean one that does espresso style coffee, not just a low quality coffeemaker for Long Black (Americano). Most of your guests would come from Europe, South America and other countries where they do not drink long black coffee.
- A good quality iron, is not even something we need to mention, don’t we?
- Small garbage can in the bedroom as guests would have trash and that respectful guests would not be comfortable leaving it on the floor.
- Appliance to increase or reduce humidity. Depending on the geographic location it is important to have either a humidifier or dehumidifier (or fans for customers accustomed to the dry heat).
- Block of electrical sockets. It is important to have one in the bedroom as today’s traveler brings a number of devices that need to be powered.
- Strong WiFi setup in a way to work for any kind of OS or mobile device.
- Wireless Internet password available in a visible place in the room.
- Sent very clear details on transportation. Some people drive, some people use public transport or taxi.
- Personalize guest’s experience. Being formally polite is not enough. Be nice and helpful. Ask your guests prior to their arrival what are their points of interest and what they like doing when traveling. Try to make them feel like they are in their home towns and they will be very grateful.