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Airbnb Hosts Explain What Guests They Don't Want in Their Homes

The Swedish Airbnb hosts we talked to collectively reject one demographic: young people who like to party.
19.10.16
Illustration by Ingrid Arnsand Jonsson

Illustration by Ingrid Arnsand Jonsson.

Airbnb is a wonderful service if you're on holiday and looking for a more behind-the-scenes place to stay – or if you have an apartment and are looking for some extra cash. Since last year, the number of Swedish Airbnb hosts has increased with 69 percent. That rise has naturally caught the attention of Sweden's tax agency and some Airbnb hosts are now being investigated for tax fraud.

Annons

But avoiding taxes isn't the only fishy thing some hosts seem to be doing. Recent reports of discrimination and racial biases among hosts have also raised concerns. Last month, American Airbnb hosts were urged by the home-sharing company to stop being racist. Despite Airbnb's suite of policy changes to prevent discrimination, this month racist hosts were reported in Sweden, too.

I decided to reach out to a few Airbnb hosts to find out what kind of guests they don't want in their homes. The Airbnb hosts I talked to weren't racist in who they allow in their apartments – at least not openly – but they do collectively reject one demographic: young people who like to party.

Sandra, 29, Two-Room Apartment, Gothenburg

VICE: When you receive a request – who is a no-no?
Sandra: People saying stuff like, "I promise we won't throw any parties and will take really good care of your place." It's a bad sign when people feel they have to say something like that. I rarely rent to people under 25. If something feels fishy in the way people communicate or present themselves, I ask them to tell me a little bit more about their plans. I prefer renting to couples.

So you would say you're not discriminating on race but on age?
It's just that I've had some bad experiences hosting young people. I had these two girls from London who went through my jewellery box and used my sunglasses. That sucked.

Are there people from certain places or countries you don't want in your apartment?
No. I love having Germans and French people over though – they always leave the place in good shape.

Hampus, 28, One-Room Apartment, Stockholm

What are you looking for in a person you'll host in your apartment?
Hampus, 28: I only accept people who have at least one good review. Couples are also a good pick, because they're usually pretty relaxed and quiet. I don't want more than three people, except maybe when it's a family with young children.

Have you ever rejected someone?
Many times. Mostly because they're big groups or have no reviews. British people tend to be messy, but I do accept them if they have good review.

Annons

Do you scan social media before accepting their request?
I haven't yet. I think the reviews reveal enough about people. And I don't think I'd always be accepted if people took a look at my social media. On Airbnb today, I am entirely different from who I was on Twitter in 2014.

Sara, 28, Two-Room Apartment, Solna

Are you looking for something in particular in your guests?
Sara: I want them to be identified users with good reviews. I don't want people under 18 and other people I suspect are here to party. And if they're only staying for two days, the money I make isn't worth moving out for and cleaning afterwards.

Have you ever lied in your rejection of a guest?
Yes, I've lied that I have to use the place myself when I just don't have the energy to rent it out.

Shaena, 34, Three-Room Apartment, Stockholm

Is there anything in particular you look for in a guest?
Shaena: We have small children so our place has all the necessities for families with small children. So I mainly hope for young families. I don't want young single guys. I live in a quiet family area. We once had a request for a large group of men from somewhere in Asia I rejected. They were 16 people, and our house can only take up to six.

Have you ever lied to reject someone?
I wouldn't say I've lied, but sometimes I just decided to stay home rather than to rent out during a specific period. I am an international traveller myself so I would hope that people would treat me the same and rent out their place to me.

Klara, 27, Two-Room Apartment, Berlin

VICE: What are you looking for in a guest?
Klara: I tend to trust my intuition and accept the people who seem trustworthy and kind. I don't want teenagers and young adults – especially in groups. Last time I rented out my apartment to a group of younger girls, I returned home to bedsheets covered in puke, burnt photos and mouldy towels. They also rearranged my apartment and left something that looked like a medieval sex toy in my bed.

Have you ever rejected someone?
Yeah, people who open the conversation with questions about whether it's OK to smoke or play loud music. Don't get me wrong, I love partying, but I don't like parties that consist of people I don't know doing things I don't know about in my home.

Annons

Do you look up your guests on social media before accepting their requests?
I do, but it isn't always helpful. One girl I hosted seemed really quiet and sweet but she turned out to be a crazy person. She wore my clothes and walked around the city pretending to be me for a week.

Nina, 43, One-Room Apartment, Stockholm

Is there anyone you don't want to host?
Nina: People who write one sentence about themselves. I want to know as much as possible about the person and what they plan to do in Stockholm. I don't mind people out to party, because I like partying myself and my neighbour is a right pain in the arse – so it's great if he gets a little mad.

Have you ever rejected someone?
I've rejected some people who seemed shady to me. Sometimes people tend to be too pushy and aggressive in their requests. If I ask you to back off you should back off.

Are there people from countries you don't want in your apartment?
Yeah, Swedes. In Sweden, you can go to a rental tribunal and get back cash if you've rented a place for a higher price than the market. I don't think it works if you rent a place via Airbnb, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

More on flat-sharing from VICE:

The Sharing Economy Is Not Your Friend

How to Flat-Share with a Refugee and Crowdsource the Rent

I Rented Out My Apartment While on Holiday and It Got Turned Into a Brothel