I have made no secret of the fact that I strongly disapprove of what AirBnB has done, and is continuing to do. I even helped map out short-term rentals for this recent exhibit.
If you are still considering using AirBnB at any point in time, may I helpfully suggest you spend some time on the AirBnB subreddit first? There are many, many horror stories of filth, bugs, undisclosed cameras, and - perhaps worst of all - hosts canceling far too late for guests to make other arrangements.
Four years ago, VICE contributor Allie Conti just wanted to go to Riot Fest (a Chicago music festival) with two friends. When the first AirBnB booking was canceled by the original host, Conti booked another.
What happened next led to Conti unraveling a tangled web of deceit and fraud spread across the country. It's one hell of a read. (Seriously, go read it.)
Conti figured out that the new host (who charged $1221.20 for a reservation that was not honored and had the audacity to only refund $399 when Conti complained to AirBnB multiple times) was Los Angeles-based Shray Goel, director of "upscale corporate rental company" Abbot Pacific LLC.
Dear readers, I am happy to report that Shray Goel is facing charges of aggravated identity theft and wire fraud as a result of his actions. A warrant has been issued for his arrest. I highly recommend reading the entire indictment for a full understanding of how the scam worked.
Goel's operations have been linked to roughly 100 addresses around the US (really). Of most concern to this blog are the addresses in Los Angeles proper - 209 Montreal Street in Marina del Rey, 521 San Juan Avenue in Venice, 615 Brooks Avenue in Venice, and 6304 Vista del Mar in Playa del Rey. 209 Montreal Street is the only one of those addresses not subject to RSO, meaning it was also illegal for Goel to list the other three homes on AirBnB in the first place. (Sadly, the city still sucks at enforcing its own laws.)
Hopefully we'll see more accountability going forward. In the meantime, I'm pouring myself a fizzy drink and hoping things are better in 2024.