People Are Fine With Airbnb, Until It Comes To Their Neighborhood

There are currently two distinct groups who have problems with Airbnb and similar home-sharing services. There are hotel owners who believe that Airbnb operators get away with running de facto hotels without facing the requisite taxes and regulation. Then there are people annoyed by the constant turnover of visitors at rental properties in their neighborhood. A new survey seems to indicate that many of us would fall into that latter category if our neighbors decided to open their doors to short-term renters.

The folks at asked two Airbnb-related survey questions.

The first is the unqualified question whether people should be allowed to “rent rooms in their homes for few days at a time to strangers, similar to a hotel?”

The good news for Airbnb and Airbnb hosts is that “I don’t care” was the most frequently chosen response (45%), followed by “Yes, it should be freely allowed” at around 26%.

Only 12% of respondents believe that Airbnb should not be allowed, making it the least popular response — to the first question.

The second question puts a qualifier on the location of the Airbnb property, asking if “your neighbor” should be permitted to rent rooms in their homes for a few days at a time to strangers.

Those two words change up the results — a lot.

While “I don’t care” remains the most popular response, and virtually unchanged at 46%, the idea of an Airbnb being right next door to your house appears to have a chilling effect on respondents’ generosity.

Suddenly, the “No” answers leap from last place to second place, representing more than 20% of responses. The people who think Airbnb hosts should be allowed to do what they want without regulation sinks nearly ten percentage points to 17%.

There are disparities on gender lines, with fewer men (10%) than women (18%) initially opposing all Airbnb operations. And when the neighbor factor is included, both males and females grew in their opposition (to 20% and 25%, respectively).

Feelings on Airbnb also varied depending on the type of area respondents live in.

Only about 11% of Urban respondents fully oppose Airbnb, though that number jumps up to nearly 20% when it involves a neighbor. These are slightly lower, but generally in line, with the national average.

In the suburbs, outright opposition to Airbnb is around 13%, and increases to more than 22% when asked about a neighbor. These are both above the national average.

Rural respondents were the most generous, with fewer than 11% of people opposing Airbnb in general, and only around 16% having a problem with the neighbor running an Airbnb spot.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.