Airbnb to let neighbours give feedback on hosts, 'party houses'

By Yuji Nakamura, Pavel Alpeyev, Eric Newcomer

Airbnb's rapidly growing service has sometimes pitted neighbor against neighbor and landlord against tenant, but the ability to provide feedback may change this. Photo / Bloomberg
Airbnb's rapidly growing service has sometimes pitted neighbor against neighbor and landlord against tenant, but the ability to provide feedback may change this. Photo / Bloomberg

Airbnb will soon give people renting out rooms and homes through its website a better way to find out how the strangers showing up at their properties are behaving.

A new tool will let neighbors weigh in with feedback on Airbnb properties nearby, Yasuyuki Tanabe, the head of Airbnb in Japan, said at a government panel in Tokyo on Monday. The feature will be rolled out globally in a few weeks, he said.

READ MORE:
Is this the worst Airbnb listing ever?
Airbnb to open NZ office as local listings gather pace

It's no coincidence that Airbnb chose to unveil it in Japan, the company's fastest-growing market for inbound visitors. The archipelago's tourism boom has created a shortage of hotel rooms and fueled more than 30,000 listings as of February, but Airbnb rentals are causing strains in residential areas where neighbors live in close proximity, often in houses just inches apart.

"One of the most important issues facing the sharing economy is how the people choosing to take part in it co-exist with those that aren't," Tanabe said at the public forum. "Our first step in this direction is to give neighbors the opportunity to comment or complain."

The feature, set to debut next month, will let neighbors enter comments in an online form.

Feedback will be reviewed by Airbnb's customer-support team, who will then take action as necessary. Airbnb didn't say whether the information will be made public or if the identities of neighbors will be disclosed.

Airbnb's rapidly growing service has sometimes pitted neighbour against neighbor and landlord against tenant. Cities have puzzled over how to regulate the startup, which was last valued at $25.5 billion. New York City has scrutinised Airbnb and taken steps to push back against commercial renters. San Francisco, Airbnb's hometown, voted down a divisive ballot initiative that would have restricted home sharing in the city. Airbnb neighbors the world over have complained of "party houses" that attract rowdy renters during major sporting events.

Our first step in this direction is to give neighbors the opportunity to comment or complain.

Monday's government hearing in Tokyo was held to discuss regulatory reform of home-sharing services in Japan. Local governments recently began ratifying Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's guidelines on regulating the service, a move that has left some Airbnb hosts concerned.

Tanabe discussed several initiatives for Airbnb in Japan. It will collect taxes from hosts and introduce a Japanese language service to communicate with the police, he said. It will also create a system for rapidly relaying information about disasters or disease outbreaks.

- Bloomberg

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 28 Sep 2016 09:17:58 Processing Time: 530ms