VR Front Desk’s weekly roundup is highlights the latest news and stories about Airbnb

Airbnb Floating House in London

In possibly one of the coolest publicity stunts I have seen in a while, Airbnb is launching a floating house on the river Thames next week. With 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, and a yard with a dog house, it is the most unusual “boat” on the river for sure.

Best of all, the stay is free. Airbnb is holding a contest and all you have to do is submit your name for a chance to win!

Even the meals are included, from a Michelin starred chef.

If I was in London, I would definitely apply. It would be a really cool opportunity.

What I don’t know is the exact calculus behind this gig, having this Airbnb barge constructed just for a few nights seems like an incredible cost for 5 nights of good publicity.

I think overall its a very clever move by Airbnb as they try to become more accepted into the cool and mainstream, and also to advocate for their issues of legalizing home sharing across the world.

In anycase, they are doing it with style. I wonder what happens to the house after they are done with it….

Long Term Tenant Nightmare

On the other side of the spectrum, ABC news is reporting on a terrible experience Airbnb host Poonam Sandhu had in her California Home.

She rented out her house to what seemed like a nice couple, when they were still on their Airbnb reservation. Once the reservation was over, the couple asked if they could continue their stay on a “cash basis”.

And this was the critical mistake that the host Poonam made: She agreed to what seemed like a reasonable request from nice people. Only this couple knew exactly what they were doing. Once they crossed the 30 day threshold, they stopped paying and started taking over the house as it was their own. After 30 days, they were technically tenants with all the tenant rights afforded to California residents, which are quite a lot!

Besides being unable to easily evict them, Poonam was technically required to give them 30 days notice that the “lease” would end. To properly evict them would cost a lot in legal fees, so she did what I think was the best possible course of action at that point: offered the couple $1000 to leave, which they eventually accepted.

Let this be a good lesson to learn. As a host, I am usually very wary of anyone that wants to stay for 30 days or longer. I would only consider guests with amazing reviews and of course ID verification for something like that. And lastly, any deal outside of the Airbnb platform runs a risk of turning quite nasty and you can lose all the protection that the Airbnb system provides, so operate with caution!