There has been a lot said about Airbnb in the media and to be fair I have talked about it myself a few times. But I keep on reading them anyway. Then I read the comment is free piece in the Guardian, right before I go to Barcelona too.
Barcelona is a city-break destination practically all year round, which means it’s struggling with more than just a surfeit of drunken stag parties and queues outside tapas bars. Landlords have realised they can make more money out of short lets to well-off Airbnb users than from renting to conventional tenants who live and work in the city year round, so when contracts come up for renewal it’s not uncommon to find the rent suddenly shooting up to levels that young Spaniards can’t pay. Once they’re forced out of the neighbourhood, the empty flat promptly disappears into what’s still sometimes euphemistically known as the “sharing economy”, although what happens next sounds like the antithesis of sharing. Those lucky enough to own a desirable property get steadily luckier, by pimping it out to the highest bidders. Meanwhile, those who don’t have such an asset become ever less likely to get one, as property prices are pushed up across the city. Thus does inequality harden, and resentment deepen, while the failure of mainstream parties to solve the problem drives the young and frustrated ever closer to the political fringes.
All the stuff mentioned in others but then, but then the killer to my hippyish ideas for Airbnb.
So much for the earnestly hippyish vibe of the original Airbnb model, which was supposed to be all about creating a cosy-sounding “global community” by linking up adventurous strangers in search of more authentic, home-from-home travel experiences. And so much, too, for the idea of democratising the travel industry by letting the little guy make a buck on the side. In some tourist hotspots Airbnb is now morphing from an amateur operation into a slick professional one, with landlords amassing multiple properties just as they once did with buy-to-let, and using agencies to manage their burgeoning empires.
The romantic, if sometimes risky, fantasy of swapping lives with a local for a few nights and seeing the city through their eyes is being replaced with a more corporate, impersonal experience. Sign here for the keys; check out promptly in time for the next guest to arrive. Too bad that what could have been a young couple’s starter flat is now just another asset to be sweated, and one that probably stands empty half the time.
As the piece says and I am somewhat in agreement about regulation in this sense, as things have gotten out of hand. But the pressure needs to come from both sides and I don’t know if people care to do the right thing? For example there are still a lot of listings on Airbnb for Barcelona which don’t have the LUT number which is required for Barcolona Airbnbs now.
it’s uncomfortable knowing that your cheap getaway comes at such a hidden cost, guilt seems unlikely to put many travellers off
It would make sense if Airbnb would check this somehow or even more fundamentally, provide a space to input this info and highlight it to potential Airbnb guests. Right now you have to tack it on the end of the description which isn’t ideal.
When looking for somewhere, I asked a few Airbnb hosts for their LUT number and one all but laughed in the message back. If Airbnb really gave a crap about whats happening to these cities and locations its the least they would do.
It was Oliver who first alerted me to the new rule Berlin has just applied to Airbnb.
apply. When what exceptions are possible, is still unclear.
Some friends on Facebook (my fb is public, so its readable/findable) added some comments to my kind of retweet from talking with Oliver.
Jennifer wrote: There are so few affordable flats available for people who actually live here. The Airbnb market has affected the available rentals so much here that it’s driven prices up, and it’s a nightmare.
Helen wrote: There are similar restrictions in Barcelona. You need a licence to rent rooms or apartments but the local government is not issuing new licences. Same rationale…lack of affordable housing, makes for unpleasant living when your neighbouring apartments are all on short lets, changing the culture of neighbourhoods. That said, there’s no shortage of rentals in Barcelona on AirBnB and elsewhere. Fines are being issued but not widespread yet.
As someone who does Airbnb at my own flat, I think there should be a difference between a spare room and a whole place. I do have everything legally needed including smoke alarms, exit signs and fire extinguisher but it feels like there should be slight difference. I understand the concerns and the damage of short term lets on a community. Some apartment blocks have banned Airbnb in Manchester for example. But if you are there too, its no real different than having a short term lodger? I guess there is an argument about how you prove you are there, but thats a different arguement.
Its a shame its come to this but alas thats what happens when you let market forces run out of control?
Little chance of a cheap Airbnb for Berlin now, I thought but theres still quite a lot on Airbnb still… We shall see what happens in May.
Sorry to everyone for the long delay in blogging but you need to feel the pain of not having broadband at home. Some people have asked why I don't just blog from work, but to be honest I tend to have a endless list of things to do at work, so as I complete one task, I just move to the next one. This means theres no time for blogging. Also recently I've been out of the building so much that sitting down and blogging would be difficult. I had thought about drafting a load but I've been unpacking for days and am still not finished.
In the pictures you can now see on Flickr, you might notice a few boxes but up till yesterday was a lot more.
Before anyone asks, the computer next to the TV isn't there all the time, thats my test machine ubuntu box for xbmc in the future. There is no barrier between the kitchen and living room, its open plan. But I decided to put the bookshelf and sofas in the way. This means the living room area feels more cosy. The sofas are not my choosing, just like the glass table and coffee table but I'll live with them. The TV is watchable from the Kitchen and dinner table too. The second bed room still has the bed covers which came with the flat, because I would never pick such nasty bed covers. I put the servers and switch in the wardrobe alongside the extra furniture and boxes. I still need to get rid of the rest of the boxes and sort out the ethernet/telephone cables. If it was my flat, I would be drilling nice outlet holes between the rooms but its not.
To date, only 3 people have seen the new flat. The first person was Kate, while Dave's actual slept over, although Kate did get to sample some cooking. Generally I'm having a good time in Manchester and I did go out drinking the other day with Kate and Leanne, so things are going pretty well. The house in London exchanged last week too, which is good and now means I don't really have links to London except family and friends. Yes the ride up to Manchester last Sunday was pretty long (4.5hours), luckly it only rained between Oxford and Birmingham, so I was dry by the time I stopped for the 3rd time for fuel and a rest near Manchester.
So after looking at ton of flats in Manchester city centre today, I've drawn the list down to a top 3. Now don't get me wrong, Almost every flat I've looked at has been perfectly liveable and worthy of consideration, but these flats have that wow factor which has pushed them in front of the rest.
- St Georges Island, Kelso Place, Castlefield Manchester
This place is furnished with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (one En-Suite), secure parking and a balcony which stretches the complete length of the flat. The view is great and the only downside is the location is quite far from oxford road, so it would be almost 20mins walk to work or to the northern quarter. Deansgate station is about 5-10mins away which isn't too bad. Its also got 24hour conceirge and is right next to the canel.
Nile, City Road East, Knott Mill, Manchester
Is a lot like the last one but no 24hour conceirge and the balcony is much smaller. However its a stone throw from Deansgate station and actually walkable to oxford road within 15mins..
Church Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester
This one was pretty impressive and set the standard for a while till later in the day when I saw the others. The major difference is its location. Its actually across the road from the Arndale centre and located in the northern quarter. According to some people, its a great area and is recommended over anywhere else in Manchester.
Tomorrow I will have a look at, and this is just between 4-6pm!
- The Lock, Winkworth Road, Manchester
- The Hacienda, Winkworth Road, Manchester
- Beaumont Building, Salford, Manchester
- Skyline Chambers, Northern Quarter, Manchester
- Green Building, Salford, Manchester
- Agecroft House, Winkworth, Manchester
- W3, Winkworth/Oxford Road, Manchester
- Home 1, Winkworth, Manchester
- Meadow View, Northern Quarter, Manchester
- Home 2, Winkworth, Manchester
- The Linx, Northern Quarter, Manchester
- Market Buildings, Northern Quarter Manchester
- Oxford Place, Oxford Rd, Manchester
- Barton Place, Northern Quarter, Manchester
- The Citadel, Northern Quarter, Manchester
- The Ropeworks, Winkworth Road, Manchester