Landlords

Airbnb asks guests to donate to landlords amid pandemic

Airbnb

People who can’t afford houses of their own asked the rental site why they should treat landlords paying off their second homes like they are charities

Airbnb has been slammed for asking customers if they’d like to donate money to previous hosts who have lost income due to coronavirus.

People who can’t afford houses of their own asked the rental site why they should treat landlords paying off their second homes like they are charities, accusing them of contributing to rising prices in their neighbourhoods.

An email sent to previous travellers and holidaymakers who used the platform said: Like all of us, hosts on Airbnb are impacted by COVID-19, and many of them are unable to welcome guests.

Now more than ever, it’s important to reach out and support one another—even in small ways. Today, we’re introducing a new way to connect with your favourite hosts. ‘Now you can create personalized kindness cards that make it easy to send a message of appreciation or encouragement, with the option to add a contribution. We hope these cards will make hosts smile, and bring a little joy your way, it stated.

As you might expect, not everyone was sympathetic. Twitter users asked why they should contribute towards someone’s second mortgage, with one accusing Airbnb landlords of ‘jacking up prices for the already struggling locals looking for housing options’.

New York Times tech reporter Mike Isaac said the idea was like ‘the mortgage-backed securities of the sharing economy’ and said many hosts had ‘overextended themselves by leveraging multiple properties which they rented out pre-covid, and are now going empty’.

Author Samuel Pollen tweeted: I deleted this email without reading it but it’s completely wild that AirBnB are suggesting we *donate to landlords*.

Labour councillor Caragh Skipper accused the company of ‘acting like landlords are charities’ during a housing crisis.

Filmmaker Ryan Couldrey added: Filling out my kindness card, “Dear AirBnB host, thank you for making rent unaffordable in this city.

“The only thing worse than a landlord is a wannabe landlord with even fewer responsibilities.

“Hope the bank takes your property and turns it into affordable housing. Get a job.”‘

An Airbnb spokesperson told Metro.co.uk: We’ve heard from many guests that want to support hosts during this difficult time and our new e-cards allow them to share messages of support with hosts that may have welcomed them into their home.

There is also the option for a voluntary financial contribution, with no charges from Airbnb, which goes directly to the hosts, more than half of whom say they rely on the additional income from hosting to afford their home.

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