Senior Hosts

Peter1
Host Advisory Board Member
SF, CA

Senior Hosts

The senior population is growing as Baby Boomers age.
 
Many are empty-nesters, whose housing assets are often greater than their needs and many require supplementary income. Hosting is part of the solution.  But, in my opinion, senior Hosts is a group that STR platforms could pay more attention to.

Are you a senior Host? What issues do you think Airbnb can help you with to make hosting an easier and better experience for you?

"By 2060, projections show, there will be close to 5.5 million people over 65, or 29% of the region’s total population.

As the region ages, housing options will evolve, with some seniors needing more support in their homes and others on fixed incomes struggling with finances.

Intergenerational living will become common, sometimes with kin moving in together to share duties and expenses, sometimes with seniors renting rooms to non-family members in exchange for help around the house. Home sharing and co-living will become more conventional. And one agency is experimenting with a backyard cottage program that saves some seniors from homelessness."

https://www.ocregister.com/2022/10/02/home-sharing-backyard-cottages-and-renting-out-rooms-help-seni...
19 Replies 19
Fred13
Level 10
Placencia, Belize

@Clara116  "..the baby boomers, of which I belong, we grew up without cell phones, without social media, we talked on phones at home, wrote letters and actually mailed them."

    Good days indeed, granted the pterodactyls were a bit annoying then, but we were a very resourceful lot. Our generation has gotten to enjoy two different worlds; how fortunate.

 

Teradactyl2.jpg

a pterodactyl attack

 

 

Clara116
Level 10
Pensacola, FL

@Fred13 oh for certain, we have lived through the best of music, musicians, artists and people that we've seen do many amazing discoveries that have changed our worlds. And you are correct those pterodactyls were especially bothersome here in the south ... Hahaha. I am thrilled to have been born in the time period it's happened. I was taught we could do it all...and looks like you and I have stayed true to that motto! Peace Out Fred

Lorna170
Level 10
Swannanoa, NC

@Peter1  AirBnB can assist older (and all other) hosts by producing a short checklist of legal rights about hosting for EACH state in the US and suggestions of where to find LOCAL regulations.  I spoke with three of my neighbors who do short term rentals while at a social gathering and was shocked to discover how little they knew or understood about the tax and legal ramifications of renting a room and/or a whole property on AirBnB or other OTAs.  

 

I also think that AirBnB needs to clarify the insurance picture.  AirCover does not protect the host in the way that most think it does.  It is IMO a bogus program, a placebo in fact, to make hosts and guests alike think that they have protection against damages or mistreatment and that they do not need to be otherwise insured.  Travel insurance should be recommended to all guests, and hosts should have personal policies.

Helen3
Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

Hello @Lorna170 

 

If you look on the Airbnb website they do have a section of regulations in various countries including the US.

 

However you can't expect a listing company to keep up with the various STR regulations across the world. It's up to us as the business owner to check with our local government website for these regulations in our area.


Airbnb does also make it clear that the guarantee is not a substitution for the STR business owner to have their own insurance.

 

However I do think Airbnb should have a checklist that comes up for hosts setting up a listing to remind the business owner to check for STR regulations in their areas and to make sure they take out appropriate insurance. 

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom


@Lorna170 wrote:

AirBnB can assist older (and all other) hosts by producing a short checklist of legal rights about hosting for EACH state in the US and suggestions of where to find LOCAL regulations. 

 


@Lorna170 but then wouldn't they need to do that for every country which they operate in (which is most as far as I am aware) as it's a global company now?

 

I agree that most new hosts are not aware that AirCover doesn't really protect them to the extent that Airbnb tries to imply it does through its marketing.

Lorna170
Level 10
Swannanoa, NC

@Huma0  I understand what you are saying about having to provide the information for each and every country that they operate in and that that would appear to be a gargantuan task.  However, a short checklist of 1) apply for a tax ID number  2) apply for a license to host  3) find the local zoning office  4) speak to a real estate professional   5) speak to a tax accountant  6) get a quote for insurance  etc. would go a long way to making people think a bit more about what they are doing.

Helen3
Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

The issue with your suggestion if that the checklist is different for each country and within countries often by area so it is not something you can provide a generic checklist. @Clara116 

 

For example in England you don't need a licence (apart from London), we don't have a zoning office, and there is no reason to speak to a 'real estate professional' .

 

I think hosts as the business owner need to take some responsibility for doing their own market research when setting up our STR businesses and doing their due diligence around what legislation may affect your business and what you need to set up an STR business.

 

 

Clara116
Level 10
Pensacola, FL

@Helen3  I think you have my post confused with another host. I didn't write about this info....my post was about more along the lines of offering informative ways at better education on doing STR Business and using Airbnb as a platform. 

Helen3
Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

Sorry I meant @Lorna170 

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

@Lorna170 

 

I understand that, but it doesn't apply to all areas, nor to all circumstances, so it could result in confusion.

 

For example, here in the UK, the laws when you rent out a room to someone in your primary home are vastly different from when you are renting out a separate unit and, also, it varies greatly from city to city, town to town, region to region.

 

I believe Airbnb very deliberately does not get into this because int would be a minefield for them. There are so many different regulations, and they often change. I can kind of understand why Airbnb does not want to take on the responsibility for that. If they doled out advice that then turn out to be wrong/outdated, where would it leave them? I am pretty sure they spend quite a lot of money on a legal team and that legal team has advised them to tell hosts that it is THEIR responsibility to check on these things, not Airbnb's.

 

That's just my take on it though. I don't know any of that for fact. I do know that in certain areas, Airbnb has been forced by local authorities to engage in these matters.

Clara116
Level 10
Pensacola, FL

@Peter1 Thanks for your post....its critically important for sure. And the 60 yr old female is the primary Airbnb Host - according to the latest I've heard direct from my community manager! So you are exactly right. 

Times have changed so much with technology and social media and all that goes into thriving in 2022. If you think about it the baby boomers, of which I belong, we grew up without cell phones, without social media, we talked on phones at home, wrote letters and actually mailed them. So all the changes for many esp. those not living in a city environment or around the younger crowd or no longer in the workforce or not traveling the world and growing - technology is a challenge and/or struggle for many. Many didn't even have cellphones until recently and many are still struggling to use them effectively. Many seniors saw the writing on the wall as they say - and we bought phones and learned, learned and continue to learn at every opportunity. 

Since Airbnb's platform is online we might consider  that not  all Airbnb hosts have full skills in using a cellphone, messaging and dealing with any problems. Example: my elderly aunt  talked with wanting to put her place on Airbnb after seeing my success. But after much discussion, I had to discourage her as she has very minimal phone skills and even less computer abilities. She'd need a co host and she's so independent that would never work for her and I'd never even consider such an arrangement with her. 

So if there were options for Boomers learning the "how to type classes" - it would have to be on zoom as many are homebodies and will need a little hand holding occasionally. 

Verizon held short in house classes and taught folks (all ages)  how to use cell phones and for a couple years you could go back, ask questions and get any help in person. The place was packed and when I knew they would help me understand how to use the newest phones,  I didn't hesitate and neither did so many others. It was a fabulous program - and could be done online, in person -  I've got some ideas on how it could be done anywhere! 

I'd say folks, seniors, baby boomers want to be included, want to understand and certainly not be left behind. Thanks for bringing the topic out front.

Best & Blessings,

Clara

Peter1
Host Advisory Board Member
SF, CA

Thanks Clara.  As a Host Advisory Board Member, I've been trying my best to bring the perspective and voice of seniors to Airbnb.  They have been very receptive and I hope and am confident that new products and policies will incorporate the concerns of seniors going forward.  Thank you for lending your voice and sharing your story.

Lenore22
Level 10
California, United States

Great point, @Clara116 ! I know lodging, houfy & several other "smaller" listing platforms have a white glove service to onboard your listing. Not sure about their support as you accept your first or tricky guests. This community board is certainly a great resource for familiarizing hosts... If they can find it. 

 

It seems that Airbnb is working to cultivate "ambassadors" in the host community, which could fill this need... And of course there is compensation through the referral fee.

Helen3
Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

Hi @Lorna170  yes Airbnb ambassadors have been providing exactly this sort of service to new hosts for several years. 

Helen3
Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

What Airbnb could do @Peter1  for senior hosts (and all other hosts) is to stop automatically suspending hosts listings when guests make false complaints because they have been caught out bringing in extra guests, partying or damaging a property.

 

I certainly wouldn't use Airbnb any more if I relied on the income because of this awful policy. Why are airbnb suspending hosts when there is a safety allegation against them? ie guests complain that hosts have CCTV (which is displayed in line with Airbnb's policies.

 

Have you seen the hundreds of examples of this happening just on this community. What is the host advisory board doing to help address this issue.

 

The other reason I wouldn't use Airbnb as a new host is because they have removed the Instant Book criteria where you can cancel if you are uncomfortable with a guest penalty free.  This was the main clause that gave hosts confidence in using this policy. Now they are saying you can cancel if you are uncomfortable but you will be fined a cancellation change - appalling.

 

These guest centric policies give hosts no confidence that Airbnb will have their backs when things go wrong and there are problem guests. I'm sure older hosts who may be more risk averse will not be encouraged to use the platform when they see Airbnb does not protect them when there are problem guests.

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom


@Helen3 wrote:

 

The other reason I wouldn't use Airbnb as a new host is because they have removed the Instant Book criteria where you can cancel if you are uncomfortable with a guest penalty free.  This was the main clause that gave hosts confidence in using this policy. Now they are saying you can cancel if you are uncomfortable but you will be fined a cancellation change - appalling.

 

@Helen3 

 

When did this happen? That is not what I understood from the new policies. Did I miss something? I am not using IB anymore anyway, but would be interested to know...

Helen3
Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

I'm not sure when it happened. But as always when Airbnb makes an anti-host change they aren't inclined to shout about it. Here's the new policy.

 

https://www.airbnb.co.uk/help/article/1510/how-to-use-instant-book 

 

You can see they have removed the line that you can cancel penalty free if you are uncomfortable with a guest.

 

However on another section of Airbnb they do say you can cancel BUT only up to three times a year if you can show the guest intends to break your house rules. After that Airbnb will decide if you can cancel. 

 

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

@Helen3 

 

I am not sure about that article. It doesn't give much detail. What I know is that, as long as I have been hosting/the few years I used IB, it was always the case that you only got 3 x penalty free cancellations a year before you had to contact CS and beg them for it, so I don't think that has changed.

 

What I did notice, when the new policies came into place, was there was originally some wording that inferred that now ALL hosts would have those penalty free cancellations, but when I tried to get clarification on this, I was met with radio silence.

 

At the same time, the wording on the policies changed so as to imply if you thought at guest was going to throw a party or break your house rules, you were still entitled to those penalty free cancellations, but the bit about being 'uncomfortable with the guest' seemed to disappear, or was it vice versa, i.e. the bit about thinking a guest would break your house rules disappeared?

 

Whatever. It was confusng and, again, I asked here on the CC for the moderators, or someone from Airbnb to clarify this. I don't remember getting any response...

Helen3
Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

Yes hosts have always only had three cancellations they can do by themselves under IB. The big thing that has changed is that they used to say/sell that you can cancel if you are uncomfortable with a guest.

 

Now you can only cancel penalty free if the guest breaks your house rules.

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