7 Replies Latest reply: Nov 18, 2019 8:37 AM by floridagirl19 RSS

    AirbnbWatch.org sponsored by hotel lobbyists coming for VRs

    floridagirl19 Contributor

      So there's a lot of lobbyist money from the hotel industry to attack vacation rental owners as "illegal hotel operators" - take a look at this "About Us" page on their site and take note of the corporations supporting them - so they think they are "protecting communities" from us horrible "illegal hotel operators" - I can think of quite a few nasty hotels and motels that are in fact a danger to their community - but yeah they want to focus on private property owners who rent out their properties to regular folks who want to stay in a single family home when they travel. These people are our enemies....

       

      https://airbnbwatch.org/aboutus/

       

      AirbnbWATCH is a project of American Family Voices, bringing together a collection of organizations dedicated to a common goal: Protect communities and travelers by exposing commercial operators who use sites like Airbnb to run illegal hotels in residential properties under the radar and by making sure all hotel businesses play by the same rules.

      The problem:
      Commercial landlords are increasingly using short-term rental sites like Airbnb to rent out multiple residential properties year-round, just like a hotel, while avoiding regulation and taxes. And while this may drive huge revenues for companies like Airbnb, unregulated hotels operated in residential properties are disruptive to communities and pose serious safety concerns for guests and neighbors.

      The solution:
      We are urging state and local governments to take action to protect communities and ensure a fair travel marketplace by closing the “illegal hotel loophole” by making sure all lodging businesses are playing by the same rules.

        • Re: AirbnbWatch.org sponsored by hotel lobbyists coming for VRs
          bonesxxx Active Contributor

          exposing commercial operators who use sites like Airbnb to run illegal hotels in residential properties under the radar and by making sure all hotel businesses play by the same rules.


          Not that I don't see the risk of them eventually targeting STRs in general but this indicates they are going after something entirely different.  Seems they are concerned about commercial entities leasing entire apartment buildings and putting all the apartments on ABB like a hotel.


          Something to watch? Yes.  Something to lose sleep over tonight? No.

            • Re: Re: AirbnbWatch.org sponsored by hotel lobbyists coming for VRs
              floridagirl19 Contributor

              The problem:

              Commercial landlords are increasingly using short-term rental sites like Airbnb to rent out multiple residential properties year-round, just like a hotel, while avoiding regulation and taxes.


              I believe that most Airbnb properties have taxes taken out at time of booking - so who is actually able to avoid "regulation and taxes" ?   And their description of "commercial landlords using short term rental sites like Airbnb to rent out multiple residential properties year round" - sort of describes our business model. We have five single family homes - all used "year round" as vacation rentals - just like a hotel.  My problem is that their language is too general and does in fact describe our business model and yes it is a business - but a very small business.


              I have a strong suspicion that the "hotel lobby" which does not like the competition from private property owners using their property "like a hotel" could actually be sending these bad actors to hold "mansion parties" or encouraging them to do so - just to make Airbnb look bad to the public.  Do I think "mansion parties" happen organically on their own? Yes - but what a great way for a competitor to take out the competition by besmirching their reputation and exploiting their tendency (Airbnb) to not let hosts screen their guests and trust guests too much?


              I think hotels feel threatened by Airbnb because of the fact that Airbnb allows renting out "spaces" so a single 4 bedroom home can be rented to 4 different parties and reduces the guests booking area hotels.  A normal VR that rents the entire house should not threaten any hotels because there is only *one* guest lost to that VR.


              A lot of these problems with VRs whether from VRBO or Airbnb could be solved if the local community actually made use of the noise ordinances and occupancy ordinances that exist already.  It seems nobody wants to do something about noisy or disruptive guests using these ordinances - between the police and the code enforcement people who never want to work past 4pm.   If neighbors call the police on a noisy party of any kind - even if not an Airbnb - the police force them to file a "report" and their name is then public as the complainer.  Most people are not willing to go on record with their complaints because of retaliation.  The police should allow anonymous calls and investigate the problem and take care of it without starting a neighborhood war.


              So instead of dealing with the problem of noisy parties and over-occupied Airbnb rentals using the community tools they already have - they just attack the whole concept of short term rentals....


               

                • Re: AirbnbWatch.org sponsored by hotel lobbyists coming for VRs
                  twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                  I personally don’t think that it is just about money and loud parties. Yes, those are issues, but I think it is more than that. It is that they have to have many restrictions that we don’t, like handicapped accessibility, sprinkler systems, alarm systems, etc., etc. If they are successful, and we are required to have all those same things, then many Vacation homes will just have to choose LTR or comply with expensive alterations and upgrades.

                   

                  Before the Vacation Rental business took off like it has we were under the radar, not so much anymore. We catered to those families and friends that wanted to gather in a more relaxed environment together, that has drastically changed over the last 10 years that I have been in business. We all have to have a plan B in the event that these types of organized groups are successful in running us out. Maybe the single family home or condo unit will be able to stay out of the fray if they aren’t creating a nuisance to the neighborhoods that they are located in, not so much for the apartment complexes that may be transitioning from LTR to STR. Remember I said maybe

                  • Re: AirbnbWatch.org sponsored by hotel lobbyists coming for VRs
                    scowol Active Contributor
                    If neighbors call the police on a noisy party of any kind - even if not an Airbnb - the police force them to file a "report" and their name is then public as the complainer.   ...The police should allow anonymous calls and investigate the problem and take care of it without starting a neighborhood war.

                     

                    The reason VRs in my marketplace became stringently regulated is because neighbors don't want to have to do what you are suggesting. They became exhausted and exasperated by enduring endless weekends of late night partying guests.

                     

                    Neighbors don't want to be awakened at 1am by partying, disrespectful guests.  They are tired of calling the police.  They don't want to be the enforcers/reporters. They want to reasonably assume that they can go to bed on a Saturday night and not worry that they will be once again subject to music and drunk guests.  They simply want the tranquility of their neighborhoods restored before VRs became a booming business complete with Instant Booking.  

                     

                    Owners need to educate guests.  Vrbo/Expedia/HomeAway needs to educate travelers of the responsibilities of staying in a VR, and expectations to be a good neighbor.

                      • Re: AirbnbWatch.org sponsored by hotel lobbyists coming for VRs
                        margaret CommunityAmbassador

                        VRS have been around long before the OTAS. I believe the issue being addressed by the group floridagirl19 post about along with restrictions in many communities stems from the fact that there are now many STRS that are not in traditional vacation locations. I believe this can be quite a different business than traditional VRS. Rental arbitrage is certainly very different than traditional VRS. Rental arbitrage is in fact more akin to the hotel industry, the same can be said for some shared space rentals.

                        • Re: AirbnbWatch.org sponsored by hotel lobbyists coming for VRs
                          floridagirl19 Contributor

                          We have included language in our rental agreement that they and their pets are not to create excessive noise which could annoy neighbors. They agree to that - if I get a call from a neighbor (and most have my number) I will let the guest know and they will need to take care of it. Have never had to evict anyone.  Only had one instance where the guest had a dog and did not disclose it or sign a pets ok rental agreement and they left it in the back yard barking and annoying neighbors while they went on a day trip. I called them and made them come back and put the dog inside and made them pay my pet fee and sign the pet addendum.  If they didn't like that and don't come back well then that is probably a good thing for me and the neighbors.