You all may want to check this out. Recently reported in Vancouver Canada http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/airbnb-rental-scam-dupes-vancouverites-1.3454533
The line about the scammer signing up with only a phone number and email address seems a bit odd, considering the recent talk that everyone must be verified in order to actually make a reservation.
If you’re booking a long-term arrangement, why not go through an agent?
Commission on rental properties is a bit different in each market. For example, I have a home I rent out in Canada. Since I’m not there often, my agent was available for showings, drafting the lease, etc. Commission was the first month’s rent. That’s a small price to pay for a 36-month lease to an extremely well-qualified tenant.
In other markets, there are arrangements by which the tenant pays the agent a set fee and there is no money found leaving the landlord’s pocket.
In Hawaii, it’s illegal to rent any property–long term or short-term–unless you are on-island yourself or employ the services of a licensed real estate agent to manage the property.