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Airbnbs are trending on Twitter but not for a good reason. Delve into Twitter's latest complaints about how renting an Airbnb costs too much, and why.

When did renting Airbnbs get so expensive? Inside the rise in fees

Weren’t Airbnbs supposed to be cheaper than hotels? When the room-sharing app hit our phones, it was touted as the world’s largest hotel without buildings and an affordable way to travel in the sharing economy. Now, renting Airbnbs might as well be paying for a five-star hotel! 

So what gives? Was renting Airbnbs a bad idea to begin with or was it a good idea corrupted by a changing market or increased regulation? Grab your suitcase and travel along with us as we investigate this changing landscape. 

Rules, rules, rules

First thing to understand about renting an Airbnb: someone is essentially letting a room in their house, a guest house, or a summer home to you for a fee. Unlike a hotel, they don’t necessarily hire cleaners. Like the rest of us though, they have pesky realities of homeownership/renting to deal with like HOAs and noise ordinances. They also set their own rates, meaning they control your Airbnb price, including fees & fines. 

Rules are therefore set to make sure you, rentee, don’t trash their dom. Many of these are common sense: no noise after 10 pm because people have to work, for instance. Don’t make a giant mess is another – the latter has spawned horror stories about Airbnbs getting completely trashed, guests renting an Airbnb to use as a pop-up escort service, and more (just Google Airbnb horror stories if you dare). 

And the hosts aren’t the only ones dealing with horror stories. Guests have reported finding security cameras in their Airbnbs. One Airbnb renter was arrested on charges of voyeurism for bugging his smoke alarm with a security camera in Florida! 

Insurance

Sometimes, Airbnb hosts are upfront about security cameras in their home. In their listing, they explain their stated purpose is to make sure you follow the rules and don’t smoke, make a ton of noise, etc. That way, if you do, they have receipts to fine you or show their insurance agent if you did a ton of damage (who might be charging them more for turning their pad into an Airbnb). 

Speaking of insurance, Airbnb has a host protection insurance policy that people renting their homes as Airbnbs can purchase. However, it’s not free, meaning hosts have to pay more for coverage. Obviously, hosts’ homeowner’s insurance could also be factored into costs going up. 

Fees, fees, fees

However, unruly guests who can potentially wreck an Airbnb like a rock star wrecks a hotel room aren’t the only costs driving up Airbnb prices. How does Airbnb itself make money? Fees, of course! Fees just shot up from 14% of your renting costs to 15% in January 2021. The Airbnb community forums are reporting these fees for renting with Airbnb in the U.S. have actually gone up to 16.6%. Yikes

Like increased insurance, increased fees drive up the price you pay out of pocket for renting an Airbnb. In other news, water is wet. Worse, users have reported the fees for the Airbnbs they plan on renting keep going up & up even after they’ve booked! 

Displacement

Since Airbnbs are trending, netizens on Twitter are taking the time to remind you that the Airbnb craze is also potentially bad news for poorer, urban neighborhoods. UCLA Law Review tackled the subject of how short-term rentals like Airbnb are reportedly contributing to gentrification and neighborhood displacement. 

Citing a study on increasing rent in Los Angeles, the article explained: “Airbnb, by facilitating the use of housing as a tourist accommodation, leads to a decrease in housing stock, causing housing prices to rise, which in turn makes it more difficult for residents to reside in their current accommodations, at times resulting in displacement.”

In short, people don’t want to spend their dough on a nice hotel or B&B when staying in a big city. They go to Airbnb, renting out a cheap apartment. However, the apartment’s rent rises, also causing the rate of the Airbnb to rise so the host can keep making a profit. What’s more, since Airbnbs move in, it drives the price up thanks to supply & demand, possibly driving the locals out. 

So you still stand by Airbnb, or are you planning on renting elsewhere on your next vacation? Let us know in the comments! 

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Comments
  • At this point, I’ll rather stay in a hotel where I have free breakfast, a swimming pool, and free parking space. The convenience of booking an AirBnb because it’s cheaper has been lost as they as expensive as booking a hotel. They are great for the experience and all of that but I’ll rather book a hotel at this point

    August 10, 2021
  • The fees are now outrageous! I book places with either no or reasonable cleaning fees.

    August 23, 2021
  • We used to use Air BNB when we travel…. BUT, the fees have really been ridiculous so we have decided to use our hotel credits instead…..
    Air BNB ruined a good thing…guess everyone involved got greedy

    September 24, 2021
  • I am sad to see that post Covid prices have gone vertiginously up. Unfortunately, uneducated people got involved in this enterprise mainly as rentees which made a hell out of the final situation of properties along with the expected defense moves of hotel owners (I believe they strongly pressed for an advanced fee set up process on a political level). I hope that since the AirBnB brand name has been the red flag lately, other analogous sites will pop up to continue the idea of private renting.

    October 2, 2021
  • I rather stay in a hotel with all the outrageous fees that airbnb charges. And some of the hosts play games. They don’t get back to you and accept your request to book because they want someone who will stay longer than your week-end stay. Sometimes you can book a hotel through airbnb and also through Expedia. I found one that was cheaper by booking through Expedia. For now I rather book in hotels.

    October 3, 2021
  • Air BnB’s are the worst thing to happen to society. As the article points out it started out as a very cool, cheap way to travel. Now, the prices have gone through the roof and there’s so many of them that people are priced out of their local communities.

    I live in a beachside community in the PNW and my neighbors have their top short term rented the majority of the year….they make an absolute killing. On any given day there is someone new I have someone new staying next to us which is more than a little annoying. Not surprisingly a tonne of other people have turned to Air BnB to make a quick buck and now no one can afford to live here.

    Despite my disdain for Air BnB I was just looking through their site for a golf trip. On a 4 day $1900 USD condo rental they are adding on another $800USD for cleaning, ‘service fees’ and ‘occupancy fees’. That’s insane.

    November 29, 2021
  • I tried to book in Phoenix just now. The rate 145 per night for el cheapo place. Final price $219 with the fees added. That 40% more.

    January 2, 2022
  • Previously, I loved booking Airbnbs because I don’t like hotels. I feel like hotels are so noisy. The room doors are heavy and people always seem to be coming and going and slamming doors and talking and laughing in the hallway no matter what time of day or night. I’ve stayed at some really nice Airbnbs and I hate to see prices have gone up so much. Very disappointing.

    April 28, 2022

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