An article about the apartment rental site Airbnb was recently posted here. The article mentioned how great this service is, and the many things that you can gain from signing up with Airbnb. Even though the concept of this site is innovative and alluring, there’s one reason why you should exercise caution when renting out your place to perfect strangers.
A San Francisco woman recently signed up to rent her apartment to travelers through the Airbnb website. When the woman returned home, her apartment had been burglarized and vandalized. Airbnb is stepping up to pay any damages, but this incident could have happened to anyone.
The Problem with Apartment Rental Sites
There are a lot of good people in the world. There are also a lot of bad people out there. Often, distinguishing between the two types of people is impossible. Airbnb offers renters a way to screen travelers, check references, and make sure that payments go through. However, none of this may be enough.
The truth of the matter is that you’re taking a risk (albeit slight) when renting out your place. You’re also taking a risk when renting a place. You may stumble upon a great rental or great people to rent to, but you may come across thieves and even dangerous people. There’s no way of ensuring that you won’t get mugged, robbed, or hurt in some other way when you rent an apartment through a site such as Airbnb.
Renting an Apartment Safely
The main reason why people seek to rent apartments when traveling is cost. The cost of renting an apartment is significantly lower than renting a hotel room in most cases. Apartments also allow travelers to cook, order food, and relax as if the place they were renting was home.
All of these things combine to offer travelers a great trip experience, and most of the time an apartment rental is a great experience.
Yet, it’s important to protect yourself when renting an apartment. You can gain some protection by reading through reviews of each place.
Take your time to really look at all reviews, and try to see whether or not reviews sound alike. If more than one review sounds like it could have been written by the same person, it’s possible that the reviews you’re reading are fake.
Airbnb claims that the site only posts transaction based reviews. This means that a traveler must have completed a stay in order to write a review. Information about a traveler is gained through a recent transaction. While admirable, this will not help protect people who want to rent out an apartment, since a traveler must have completed a transaction prior to writing a review.
Airbnb also encourages those looking to rent or find a rental to conduct basic research. Facebook, Twitter, and blogs provide a great way to find out about someone. If you can’t find any information online, speak with a person directly.
Listen to the way that a person sounds, and always trust your instincts. Generally, most people who have apartments for rent (or are looking to rent) are good and trustworthy people simply seeking to make some extra cash. But, it never hurts to be too safe when renting or renting out an apartment through a site such as Airbnb.