The Downside of Holiday Rentals

I should probably start by saying AirBnB are great; I use them as a traveller, and I plan to use them as a property owner. They have given me the ability to not only travel cheap, but to experience lesser known, residential parts of cities. They also allow me the opportunity to make an income through short-term leasing as I travel. However, I do find there is a downside of AirBnB and holiday rentals, which either side of the transaction may not even realise. The affect which holiday rentals have on other residents of the area. This is more specific to shared facilities; within an apartment or condominium block. I own a condo in a prime tourist area of Bangkok, close to the central travel hub, and near all the restaurants and entertainment of the city. There are countless hotels in the area but leasing through holiday rentals can often be the cheaper option. Therefore, short-term holiday rentals are common and holiday makers are forced to mingle with long-term residents at our condo. This isn’t such a good thing. A quick example would be two eastern European ladies (mother and daughter I think) who more-or-less took over the condo’s shared facilities for an entire month. They came to Bangkok to do little more than lay at the pool, to sunbathe and get drunk. So everyday the best seats were taken early, their beer cooler sat next to them, and from morning to night they would play cards, drink and smoke. The only time they left the poolside was to stock up at the 7/11 next door. They also used the decorative trees etc. to string out their wet belongings to dry. This continued for close to a month and the ‘health facilities’ went unused bar the smoking, drinking and gambling of the unwelcome passersby. Note, in Asia the pool area is considered as ‘health facilities’ for the use of condo residents to keep healthy. During this time the mothers were forced to dropped their weekly ‘water introduction classes’ with young kids, and the usual communal activities at the pool just died. So while there are westerners living in my condo, it does cater predominantly to Asian professionals incl. Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Korean. Many families with young children live here, and the mix of cultures are almost all unfamiliar to the Club 18-30s and poolsides of Magaluf.

Bangkok Condos, Downside of Airbnb, Holiday Rentals Bangkok City Views,  Downside of Airbnb, Holiday Rentals

The Consequences

Other than the obvious consequences outlined above; there is more to it. With added use of the condo facilities and the reckless nature of passersby, there will likely be a negative impact on the shared facilities. While I am in no way saying this is to blame for the decline in our condo, but I do think it has added to it. So above are then (left) and now (right) images of our condo facilities. At one stage we had nice things, but after continual damages, broken chairs etc. the condo resorted to replace our nice stuff with plastic. Continual damages and upkeep also add to the communal maintenance fees and it is the long-term residents of the condo who are forced to fit the bill.

No Smoking Sign, Downside of Airbnb, Holiday Rentals Out of Sight, Downside of Airbnb, Holiday Rentals

Responsible Travel

So my example was by far the worst example to date. At the time I complained to management, along with many other residents, and the only thing the condo did was add more prominent ‘No Smoking’ signs. The management appeared passive towards, and unsure of how to deal with the situation. So again the new signs go ignored, just like the previous. Being said; I have done similar, and in the past I’ve probably been the ‘rowdy’ one, occasionally sneaking beers to the pool, against the rules. However, I do always sit out of sight, and if other residents come to the pool I would hide or discard it. Again, more so with young kids and families. I feel it is important to show respect towards other residents in the condo but I don’t see an unnoticed beer harming anyone. So I feel that the real problem is in the short-term incentives of holiday makers, over long-term residents. The rules can easily be ignored by short-term holiday makers as they expect little more than a slap on the wrist, before they disappear the following week. The chances of eviction are next to none. It is not their condo, not their community, and ultimately not their responsibility, so why care. Therefore, short term-holiday makers can be a problem, but who is responsible? While holiday makers should always respect the rules and culture of their destination, this isn’t always true. Therefore it is the responsibility of leasers to choose wisely, instead of following quick money. So this is where screening and transparency in the transactions is important; as the leaser should be responsible for choosing the best fit persons for the condo, and community within it. AirBnB are in fact very good with this having built a community of travellers, with transparency in decision making, through reputation and traveller information. For me, blindly allowing any person to integrate to a condo community is no doubt irresponsible. In short it is joint responsibility of both leaser and leasee to be responsible and ensure that condo communities are not disturbed.

Bangkok City Center, Downside of Airbnb, Holiday Rentals Local Residents, Downside of Airbnb, Holiday Rentals

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