WEB & TECH / FEB. 07, 2015
version 3, draft 3

What is Airbnb and Why it’s a Pain in New York City's A**

Airbnb is a site that features non-traditional accommodations. When I say non-traditional, I mean people’s homes, not large rain runoff drains. Airbnb gets you in touch with people that are renting out rooms or their entire homes for a fee that’s usually lower than market prices. Although a promising new option for accommodations in expensive locations such as NY, New York has a few issues with this service.

The initial and expected gripe New York City has with Airbnb is that people are making black, or tax-free, money implementing the service. The second is that these accommodations are unregulated, which brings up the subject of public health.

A further issue that is slightly less public is the effect it has on the hospitality industry, specifically the hotels of New York. Of course, if a big money industry is behind the argument, there most probably is going to be a legal push against the ‘problem’.    

Let’s swing back to the regulation argument against Airbnb for a second, though; its regulation is based on trust. The person renting trusts the landlord and vice versa. A hilarious side effect of this trust being breached is something that happened to NY comedian Ari Teman.

One Friday night, Teman was contacted by a gentleman that wanted to rent a space for his family to stay in while attending a wedding. Everything was set up and ready to go with ‘David’, the person interested in renting the apartment. When I say ready to go, I mean ready to throw an orgy in this poor man’s house. Lucky for Teman, he left his suitcase with his doorman and returned to retrieve it, before leaving New York for the weekend. There he found David informing people that they were shut down, Teman asked him what was shut down, which David refused to answer. What Teman saw when he went up to his apartment would have made even the burliest man scream like a 5-year-old girl with pigtails. When he peered through the ajar door to his apartment, he was exposed to an orgy fallout. The terrifying scene he was greeted to was condoms strewn across the floor, a sea of bodily fluids covering every imaginable surface, and upturned furniture. When Teman approached ‘David’, he said that he was in the right and was entitled to have up to 50 guests per the rental agreement.

Airbnb paid Teman $23.000 and booked him a week-long stay at a hotel until his apartment was suitably disinfected, well-cleaned I’m editorializing. Because if that happened to me, I would demand that my eyes stung from the smell of chlorine that would have sufficiently saturated all surfaces in my home by the cleaning crew.

Of course, according to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, it was a very isolated case; 11 million guests have had a safe and positive stay with their Airbnb host, but what else would he have said?

Have you used Airbnb or intend to use the service? Let me know in the comment section below.

 

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