It’s August in London and the covid-19 virus is still around. More and more the city streets are starting to get busier and the pub are open, but most of the office workers are still working from home. I do have the occasional airbnb guest from out of town but almost no one from overseas. This is not a surprise since there are some quarantine rules for overseas visitors to the UK. I think most people are leaving any unnecessary travel until next year. I am really starting to miss the extra income my airbnb listings used to give me but financially I am still ok.
Should you allow Airbnb guests who only want to use your listing for sex?
A nice young couple have been staying in my airbnb listing one or two nights every week recently. They seem local (and very nice) but I know they only book my airbnb to have. I know this because sometimes they don’t even stay the whole night. Often leaving shortly after it gets dark. They also usually arrive separately which only adds to the suspicion. Its my guess, considering their youth, they both still live with their parents and are using my place for some privacy.
I don’t mind if my airbnb guests have sex in my house. This should come with the territory. It’s not my business what they do in the room as long as they don’t cause any damage or disturb anyone else. It seems incredibly old fashioned to have an issue with paying guests having sex under your roof. However I do draw the line at inviting other people into my listing who are not authorised to be there. Only booked guests can enter my airbnb. This makes a lot of sense from purely a safety issue, if something serious happens I need to know who was in my house. But also that this is business and people will take the piss if they can.
I have had guests check in and then later in the night bring a friend back for sex or otherwise. Often the next morning they try to sneak out without me knowing. Some no doubt have gotten away with it but some I have caught on my security cameras.
Security cameras at your airbnb listing?
I have two cameras pointing at my front door. One is the ring video doorbell. This is usually for when my Amazon delivery arrives and i’m not at home and I can see and talk to the delivery man from my phone. This however is also useful for checking up on guests coming and going as it also records motion and stores it in the cloud. I understand the idea of ‘spying’ on my guests like this is not ideal but from time to time this has been invaluable when settling disputes with my guests.
The second camera is inside the house but also pointing at the front door in the hallway. This one is a Canary camera. This also records to the cloud. I have two because the cameras only record when there is motion and sometimes not all the action is captured. It also helps to have a backup and another angle. I understand that spying on my guests is not ideal but this is my home and my family live there. I have to have some level of security. I would never record my guests other that entering and leaving the house.
Should airbnb be you only source of income?
In the past, before the coronavirus pandemic, my airbnb income was enough to live on and pay all my bills. However I was not tempted to jack in my regular job and do airbnb full time. There were many reasons why I kept airbnb as a more sideline rather than my main focus. Sick pay, Holiday pay, Insurance, Pension – you get none of these when you’re a full time airbnb host. I am lucky my regular job is quite generous on these extras that come with my salary. The easy money from airbnb is good but it’s not everything. Also it means any serious changes in the demand for airbnb can mean you are in big trouble.
The coronavirus pandemic has seriously reduced the demand for airbnb. I am not going to say I saw this coming. In fact I considered my airbnb income be to be even more secure than my employment income (I lost my previous job unexpectedly a couple years ago). But it shows that putting all your eggs in one basket can be a bad idea. According to this article in Wired there are some hosts who manage 30+ properties in London that are facing the serious issue of having to pay rent but with no income from guests. This is not hard to believe given how well airbnb was doing until the pandemic hit, and how difficult it must be now to let these same properties. Luckily I do not have this kind of problem.
I kept my full time job while also having my airbnb listings. I was able to do this because my wife is usually home all day and I set my check-in and check-out times to be workable for me. A simple setup in the rooms makes turnaround easy – a quick clean and a change of sheets is often enough. I communicate with my guests while at work on my phone and can even tell them how to check in using a key in a key safe outside. My low touch style and low prices mean that the guests are not surprised or disappointed with my standards. Sometimes a busy day at work and my airbnb could leave me exhausted but other days it was not so bad. Now the coronavirus has hit the income from airbnb has dropped considerably but my employment income easily covers all my bills. I can weather this storm!