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Feeling a little ambivalent - AITA for reporting a fellow host’s listing to Airbnb?
My listing is in a major city where STR’s are increasingly less welcome, and legislation was passed accordingly. I am fully empathetic to the impact of this legislation on fellow hosts, including myself. There is a host who pre-legislation built a team and accumulated 40 + properties to manage over the past 3-4 years that I have also been hosting. In her portfolio, there is 1 very distinctive listing that she has managed for a long time, and it pops up on my radar occasionally when I check prices in the area. I only have 1 listing.
So tonight, I checked prices / availability. This distinctive listing appeared in my search and I wondered how this was being handled under the new legislation. I checked the profile and sure enough - same host is pictured. However, instead of her own name, the profile name is now “Airbnb”. As in, “this is Airbnb’s place”. And there are 40+ listings attributed to this host.
I flagged the listing and reported to Airbnb that it included misleading information. I get that people built businesses around STR’s, and the legislation is pretty heavy-handed. However, I also think that people making fake profiles could exacerbate the anti-STR sentiment in the city. Thoughts?
Is the host doing anything illegal? If so, the host should be reported to your local authority, not to Airbnb. As far as “Airbnb” being the profile name, I’m not sure Airbnb cares. They might simply because it’s their own name, but not because it’s misleading information. A host’s profile can say Wonder Woman or Spongebob and Airbnb wouldn’t care.
I’m not going to touch legality. The listings are in accordance with the regulations, whether or not I believe the content is correct is not for me to say. A profile that says “Airbnb” puts Airbnb’s reputation on those listings - or demonstrates that someone is deliberately trying to operate in a gray zone. But as you point out, we’ll see if ABB cares - if they don’t act, then we have our answer!
Do they have a registration code on the listing? If they do then they are legit. Even though the regulations are pretty heavy-handed in Boston, there are a few “loop holes” / “grey areas” that have to do with: Units used for furnished institutional or business stays as well as Units that have contracts with hospitals.
Because of the unique agreement/settlement that Airbnb made with Boston, Airbnb does actually have to care and do have to remove any listings that are not in compliance. However, I am not confident that the little flag on the listing page that allows you to report something is very much monitored. You may consider reporting the listing through the new Neighbor page, which may be better monitored: https://www.airbnb.com/neighbors
Or calling City Inspectional Services, who do definitely care: 617-635-5300
To be fair, this is a very common reddit term, which is also
I don’t reddit…the flow of threads is a mess…at least to me who doesn’t know how they work and have not bothered to take the time to figure it out because forums like this one exist with easily understandable flows.
I really don’t either but it is a good source for local information for my city so I do check it occasionally during weather, etc. When I first started hosting, I checked out the airbnb subreddits but they are even rougher than this one ,) Anyways, one would only have to reddit for 5 minutes to come across AITA.
Even this old English woman knows it but I haven’t been to Reddit in years - too many loonies
I have reported a couple of listings when they have been doing something against Airbnb’s policies. and once a neighbour who had entirely nicked the wording of my listing, but if I saw ‘Airbnb’ as the host I don’t think that would have prompted me to report the listing. I’ve seen all sorts of weirdness over the years.
If there were no fake profiles on the internet it would be pretty strange.
I didn’t get that the profile name in and of itself was the reason that @HTXinBOS thought there was something hinky. But, rather
would have been highly unlikely to have survived the Boston regulations as they have to be owner-occupied and more strictly than most cities. For instance we have 3 units in our owner-occupied home but would only be allowed to STR one of them if we were in Boston. I, too, am suspicious of the host she mentions, but not because of the profile name - that just seems to be part of the subterfuge.
I have repeatedly reported a host in my area who is a bit sketchy. And the listings have come down but then they pop up again. I never got any communication about them, just watch them go and reappear.
The host’s listing were sketchy due to the content in each; just bizarre. Thought it reflected poorly on hosts who do provide clean, safe places.
Hey JJD - yes there seems to be quite a bit of hinky-ness all around. I am glad consensus is NTA but I’m also really conflicted. The legislation will drive up prices for Boston tourists in the spring / summer. I know they went draconian because of all of the developers taking inventory off of the market… and probably hotels… but really I have had so many families come through, ballerinas / musicians trying out for professional positions, families of students graduating from area universities, that unfortunately your average, middle-class Boston tourist suffers. If you do a search for availability around Boston Marathon weekend (April 19), there is NOTHING available centrally for less than $500 a night…
I do appreciate all of the expertise specific to Airbnb on this forum though. It’s a delicate balance because the legislation and anti-STR sentiment in Boston is so strong, I can see how the post was a little confusing to people not familiar with the situation. They’re putting significant restrictions now on Uber / Lyft for airport pickups now as well.