As the frenetic Summer is starting to wind down, I’ve started to put my mind to organising the minutiae of a few trips I have planned later in the year. Yesterday I was browsing for accommodation for a holiday I have planned next month, as well as a long weekend in November. Although it is frequently mentioned whenever I seek tips on accommodation, I have never actually used Airbnb. I do remain curious about it however. It offers a wide range of options available, at reasonable prices. So why my reluctance so far to use it?
The benefits are obvious. Those with a spare room to rent can supplement their income through the platform, with the flexibility of not having a full-time tenant. This is also tax-free if the total earnings for the year are under €12,000. Others with an entire property to rent can do so more lucratively by letting to tourists rather than to long-term residents. Coupled with the above mentioned benefits for the intrepid traveller, it would seem like a win-win situation.
Before we look below the surface of course. Like anything that is open to abuse, the Airbnb platform is used by scammers, unregistered landlords, and subletting tenants, and causes severe disruptions for actual residents. All of which connects into the wider, and much more serious, issue of the housing crisis. I have of course written about this before, and will be writing a lot more about it again. The property issue is multi-faceted, and Airbnb and similar services make up one of these faces. Many cities have moved to enforce regulation on Airbnb – San Francisco, mentioned in a link above, and Berlin are two examples. Here in Ireland our beloved Housing Minister has given regulation some lip-service at least. However, having searched both Airbnb and Daft (Ireland’s main rental website) for accommodation for one person, in Dublin, for the first week of September, I found 306 Airbnb listings, versus 40 rental listings. Feel free to play this game yourself, if you are in the mood for making your own blood boil.
So this part of the gig-economy has a severe detrimental effect on actual city residents. There has been a backlash against tourism in many desirable destinations, as city living becomes untenable for many. This is why I approach Airbnb with trepidation, I can see first-hand what is happening here in Dublin, and am reluctant to be party to that when I travel abroad. It’s all well and good having cheaper places to stay when we go on holidays, but is it worth it if this contributes to the spiraling cost of living at home?
So, any recommendations for places to stay in North London? Say, around Camden, or Islington?