Living with Airbnb

I live in the badlands between Glasgow city centre and its West End which is great as it isn’t too far to get into town and it only takes a stop on the subway to get to the West End. It’s a great location.but you do have to put up with issues of parking, noise and other such problems that come with the location in a city that’s growing.

Most of the time I can live with all of the negatives. There is however one cuckoo in the mix and that is the increasing number of Airbnb flats in the area with two in my close alone, and dozens, if not more in the wider area around me.

Now I don’t mind Airbnb. It provides a cheaper option to hotels and a more personal option to hostels which are really now used for weekend piss ups which I’ve done myself in say, weekends in Cardiff. These are money makers for pretty much every big city not just in the UK but across most of the world, but if Airbnb is better then what’s the issue?

Noise is the obvious one. I’ve been woken up this week twice by people piling back to their Airbnb pissed up or very late having just arrived from wherever they’ve come from. Now the lad who owns the flat is very nice, and does how best to ensure his guests respect the fact they’re living with people who are living their lives as normal while they party and there’s the next problem; mess. I’m tired of going to work having to step over mess created by people who couldn’t care less.

But there’s also a massive problem with the loss of community. IF you don’t know who your neighbours are from one day to another you’ll never grow a sense of community IF you think it sounds awful it is, but worse lies over in Edinburgh where Airbnb and overtourism have seen massive problems in the city. The same sort of problems that are springing up in cities across the world where Airbnb have been allowed to grow unchecked.which is going to lead to massive problems if not sorted out now. Imagine cities with areas full of transient people with no sense of community or even respect for the place they live? Because that’s where we’re heading if curbs aren’t made.

But til then I’ll be having to cope with sleepless nights and mess.

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Airbnb’s disability problem

The other day I decided to sort out accommodation for going to Edinburgh for next year’s Comic Con, and Dublin in August for the Worldcon. The latter is a priority as Dublin will fill up and I’ve already bought a membership, so with the former all I need is a bed as I’ll be working the con, while at the latter I’ll need something a bit more as although I’ll be spending most of my time at the con but also going round Dublin. Looking to save some money I popped onto Airbnb where I found two homes who were free and made provisional bookings as I had a few things to sort out before confirming.

A day or two later I logged back on to book, and pay for, both rooms but I dropped both a quite line to mention I’m disabled and would the rooms be secure as I’d be leaving my meds (well, most of them) in the room when I’m out. Over the course of yesterday I got two replies which both went along the same lines that they were ‘really sorry’ but the rooms ‘were actually booked’ for the times I wanted them. Sensing something wrong this morning I checked to see if the hosts had marked the dates as booked. Nope, in fact both are still advertising as available. I then got a mate to enquire about the same dates; no issues.

A shufty through the internet sees folk with similar problems, and in June 2017 a study found AirBnb hosts were more likely to cancel disabled guests than able bodied ones. As a company AirBnb have to comply with equality laws but hosts are pretty much allowed to run a free hand because already written equality legislation didn’t anticipate the sharing economy. Sure AirBnb have bought a ‘disabled AirBnb’ company in reaction it seems to the study last year, So to put it bluntly, hosts can do what the fuck they want; AirBnb have the thinnest veneer of giving a fuck because trying to complain about this to them is pointless.

There is a problem with new tech companies like Uber (where they have a mass of issues) and AirBnb but there’s a particular issue with these companies treating everyone the same because they don’t. Now what this effectively means is the disabled are excluded from the sharing economy, and worse, the sharing economy feels like it doesn’t need to abide with the laws and practises of society.

So don’t want my money? Fine, I’ll spend it elsewhere though the likes of AirBnb won’t care as they’re making so much money but perhaps its down to us to now have a conversation about how these companies run themselves and how we drag them to play by the same rules other companies have to?