Airbnb in Hong Kong is about greedy landlords and suffering neighbours
I refer to your editorial on Airbnb-type services (“Modern travellers need legal protection”, April 17).
I agree with The Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners that there appears to be no regulation if a landlord turns his property into Airbnb premises. No consideration is given to the other residents in the building, who often have to endure travellers arriving at unsocial hours, causing great disturbance most of the time. The travellers are on holiday and therefore don’t care.
My own experience is of being forced to sell a flat in the UK after many years of constant noise, seeing different people arriving every week and never knowing if we were going to be able to sleep. Often such properties accommodate as many people as they can.
However, the long-term ramifications go much deeper. Airbnb is ruining the conventional long-term rental market. Properties are being bought specifically to turn them into Airbnb units because it is so lucrative, thereby eating up housing stock for local people and eroding community spirit.
The original concept of Airbnb was for travellers to stay in someone’s home. But that has now changed into a very slick operation causing huge problems to some.
I do hope the government will ban Airbnb from operating in private residences. There are more than enough hotels in Hong Kong. Residents need protection and there is no way of knowing which flats are safe and which are not as, it’s too complex to monitor. Ultimately the residents suffer because of greedy landlords.
Vivienne Brown, Sheung Wan