Airbnb (NASDAQ: ABNB) is in a tizzy anticipating the end of the controversial eviction moratorium, which has been extended to July 31. This vacation-rental platform, in collaboration with city governments, wants to ban from its site any landlord who evicted a tenant for nonpayment of rent. Although landlords shouldn't evict if they're under an eviction moratorium, if they aren't receiving rent or rental relief, many would fall on hard times themselves.
Airbnb wants to prevent landlords from advertising on its site if they evict a nonpaying tenant from July 1 throughout the end of the year (at least). That's a new turn of events for a vacation-rental platform.
Airbnb calls this plan the COVID-19 Renter Protection Policy and says it will keep this policy throughout 2021, at which point, if cities like it, Airbnb will continue with it. It can be problematic, though, for Airbnb to monitor which landlords are "offenders" and, therefore, cannot associate with Airbnb.
So Airbnb has a new department called the COVID-19 Housing Policy, and it has named a department head whose job is to "engage cities." The way the plan works is cities would tell Airbnb which landlords have evicted nonpaying tenants.
Airbnb in a June blog post that seemingly tries to explain the new policy made this statement that might make your head spin: "Airbnb has always been a platform dedicated to helping people stay in their homes."
That statement is true in the sense that by renting rooms (or mattresses on the floor -- Airbnb's actual start), homeowners in financial trouble can use their homes to earn money to pay the mortgage, thereby helping people stay in their homes. But what if those first Airbnb hosts weren't collecting rent for their air mattresses? They wouldn't have achieved their goal of staying in their home. What's really happening is Airbnb is helping one group of people: renters. But that can be a dangerous game, particularly if it comes at the expense of its hosts.
Airbnb is not the only game in town
Airbnb is the biggest vacation-rental platform in America, but its management probably knows it isn't the only game in town. So Airbnb is trying to get other vacation rental sites to buy into this new program.
If you're against this sort of thing, and if you're in the vacation-rental business, you might want to check out the following to list your properties, courtesy of SmarterTravel. (You might want to make sure these other vacation-rental sites aren't working with Airbnb on this.)
- Plum Guide
- Marriott Homes & Villas
The Millionacres bottom line
Some hosts might feel as if Airbnb has overstepped its boundaries. If you're an Airbnb host, you might want to think twice about using its service. And if you're a host or investor in Airbnb, it's always a good idea to pay attention to the way this company conducts business.