Airbnb Hosts Weigh Risks Before Super Bowl

October 11, 2017 02:55 PM

In about eight months, hundreds of people in the Twin Cities with a spare bed will become hosts to strangers coming to town for the Super Bowl. 

It’s an opportunity to cash in. But is it worth it?

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“I’ve had people from all over the world stay here,” said Carol Liege, who has been an Airbnb host for more than two years.

She rents out her guest bedroom year-round, but for the big game she is thinking about staying with family and renting out the entire house.

“You double whatever your normal price is, but no more, unless you live within five miles of the stadium, (then) you can triple your price!” Liege said.

The potential pay day is probably tempting, but it comes with a risk. 

“The place was demolished,” said Heather Harnell, who has nine homes around the city that she rents on Airbnb.

Over the Ryder Cup weekend, she returned to a total disaster.

A couple guests turned into a massive house party that left the place trashed – broken windows, appliances, electronics, and everything in between.

“You feel violated. You feel taken advantage of, and you feel disrespected,” Harnell said.

All in all, she absorbed about $14,000 in damages along with one long headache while trying to recover the money from Airbnb.

Harnell made changes like adding cameras outside every property and quickly intervening if it becomes a party.

But after another bad experience this year, she decided the risk is not worth the reward.

“We have chosen not to have any of the Airbnb available for the Super Bowl,” she said.

Her advice for hosts: put strict rules in place, only allow a couple guests, and take plenty of before and after pictures for your records.

Airbnb said incidents are extremely rare, and Carol Liege intends to take the risk.

“I tell my neighbors to call the police if something is going on,” she said.

The company tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS there are about 1,100 people signed up as hosts right now in the Twin Cities.

That’s up from 800 in the beginning of the year.

Airbnb's goal was to double the number of hosts by the Super Bowl, and it's getting close.

In Minneapolis, there is no specific short-term rental policy in place, but the city is working on a draft that is expected to be released in August.

St. Paul is also currently studying short-term rentals.

Credits

Ryan Raiche

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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