Are Airbnb’s dangerous to their neighbors?
It is unfortunate that 3 private school heads chose to appose Air BnB’s near their schools at the Chattanooga City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 13th. The leaders of those 3 private schools called Airbnb’s places where sexual predators stay. The truth is that Airbnb does a good amount of background checks on both the hosts and the guests of Airbnb’s. The following is what Airbnb says about it’s background checks on it’s web-site; “we check certain databases of public state and county criminal records, as well as state and national sex offender registries for criminal convictions and sex offender registrations. We also check the OFAC list (which includes terrorist designations) for all users that transact on the platform. Background checks are conducted for us by our approved background check providers.”
Airbnb owner, Eda Walldorf, says, “We see families who are visiting tourist attractions staying at our Air BnB, not sexual predators.” The short term rental web-sites also have systems to rank guests and hosts. Air BnB hosts check a guest’s reviews to be sure that they are not trouble and ask the guest what they are doing when they are in town.
It would be a shame for the Chattanooga City council to grant a “buffer zone” between a school and an Air BnB over a fictitious problem. Even in researching sexual predators or sex offenders in Air BnB’s, I have not been able to find a single case in the US where a sex offender stayed in an Air BnB and attacked a neighbor. Opposing private school principals have been asked to provide proof of their claims of the “dangers” of Airbnb but have not been able to produce any.
The private school heads suggested that Airbnb’s could be used for prostitution or a drug drop. There was once a case in New Your City back in 2014 of prostitutes using Airbnb’s, because they were cheaper than hotel rooms. The Airbnb’s in Chattanooga are not cheaper then hotel rooms and are leased because of the guest’s need to access a kitchen for their kids. I have not been able to find any cases of an Airbnb being used for a drug drop in the US, as one private school head suggested.
Airbnb did comment about what happened in New York City in 2014 (not in Chattanooga, TN) saying, “these types of situations are ‘incredibly rare,’ and added in a statement that they have a zero tolerance policy for these types of activities.”
Airbnb is used by families to enjoy Chattanooga and has not been used as a brothel, drug drop, or house for sexual predators. Chattanooga hosts would never allow that at our Airbnb’s. These are fictional situations that are not happening, and they are a scare tactic by a few private schools. These situation are not reality, and I hope the Chattanooga City Council will not take them seriously. You can rest assured that Chattanooga Airbnb’s are safe for their neighbors. If not, those Airbnb’s get shut down. With a short term rental permitting process in place, the city could shut troublesome short term rental down even more easily than they could now with no permit in place. That is why the city needs to pass the permitting process. In 2 weeks, I hope the city does pass the permitting process they have been working on for months.