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Spill the beans ... on renting a spare room for your holiday websites
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# 1
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Former MSE Lee
Old 02-11-2011, 4:27 PM
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Default Spill the beans ... on renting a spare room for your holiday websites

Spill the beans... on renting a spare room for your holiday websites

Want a cheap holiday in a big UK city or overseas? Short-term room rental sites, such as AirBnB.com, Crashpadder.com and Wimdu.com reckon they're a cheap solution, saying "forget hotels, just get a room in a private home". We want you to spill the beans if you've tried it. What was it like staying with strangers? If you've been a host, how much cash do you make and how do you vet visitors?




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Last edited by Former MSE Lee; 08-11-2011 at 6:42 PM.
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# 2
coolster1
Old 09-11-2011, 11:28 AM
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I've tried AirBnB three times, twice in New York, and once in Amsterdam. I tend to use it only when I couldn't find any decent cheap hotel/hostel rooms on normal hotel comparison sites.

2 out of 3 of my attempts were largely successful. I got a really sweet Upper West Side room at a bargain $50/night, and I also got an amazing EUR 50/night room in Amsterdam, smack in the middle of the loveliest street in the whole city! The hosts were lovely and accommodating. One even showed me around town and we went for dinners and things. It was really lovely.

However, the 1 out of 3 was quite a nightmare. I was given a room that was different to the one advertised, and it was quite dirty, noisy and in a quite scary area of Harlem, New York. I barely saw the host at all.

I guess it's really hit and miss with these sites. I always go for the listings which have at least a few good reviews, and if my emails are dealt with promptly by the hosts, then I'm more likely to book them.

I'd only ever use short-term room rental sites if a standard hotel search gives me astronomical prices even in the outskirts of town. My default is to use normal hotel comparison sites because you sort of know what to expect.

Last edited by Former MSE Penelope; 10-11-2011 at 4:07 PM.
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# 3
Frugaloo
Old 09-11-2011, 1:26 PM
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I've couchsurfed a few times (there's a website - couchsurfing - but I can't post a link as a newbie). It's great to meet the locals, be shown the non touristy places. Hosting's good fun too. No money can change hands, so it's not a money-spinner. Great way to go visiting on a shoe string.

(Be nice please, I'm new )

Last edited by Former MSE Penelope; 10-11-2011 at 4:08 PM.
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# 4
vma02
Old 09-11-2011, 3:21 PM
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I've used Airbnb in Chicago last year which was pretty good and also used homestayfriend in Glasgow when i needed a room for 2 months for a course i was doing. Also very good and great service.
I'd definitely rent a spare room over a hotel or B&B as you get the benefit of home comforts and you get to meet really awesome people! I still keep in touch with my Chicago host and my Glasgow hosts and know i can stay with them again if i ever return.
All in all great experience.
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# 5
herbie__53
Old 10-11-2011, 5:08 AM
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I've just got back from South Korea where I rented a place through Wimdu. It was a small apartment for 30 a night, much nicer and cheaper than any decent hotels in the area. Emails were answered promptly and the apartment was really clean and lovely and tidy - looked exactly like the photos (make sure the photos say 'verified' in the top corner when browsing!).
I've got another apartment booked in Hong Kong for January through Airbnb, and I wouldn't hesitate to book this way again.
In fact, I'm searching for an apartment in New York for next year already!

Last edited by Former MSE Penelope; 10-11-2011 at 4:10 PM.
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# 6
malkypaul
Old 10-11-2011, 5:04 PM
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Hi There everybody, Ive never tried those other sites mentioned but i have joined Travel-offers.co.uk a site that for an annual 30 ish buys you an A5 booklet that holds the names of hotels UKwide that give a free room as long as you buy your breakfast and dinner there (conditions apply and price varies), the first trip usually pays for the joining fee so if you go away more than once a year you're quids in!last year i went to (from Worcester) Felixstowe, Haverfordwest and a Skiing holiday in Aviemore, i had to drive from Forres but still cheaper than staying for a week in a hotel in Aviemore.
Give them a try!! you'll be amazed

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# 7
dannyboy83
Old 11-11-2011, 9:22 AM
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Default homestayfriend

I've used one for UK accomodation, for example, attending conferences or short breaks - it's called homestayfriend.com. I had excellent service from the company owner and as it's a startup, you get a lot of attention and service.

I'm interested in trying the US ones too!
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# 8
sarahemmm
Old 16-11-2011, 5:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frugaloo View Post
I've couchsurfed a few times (there's a website - couchsurfing - but I can't post a link as a newbie). It's great to meet the locals, be shown the non touristy places. Hosting's good fun too. No money can change hands, so it's not a money-spinner. Great way to go visiting on a shoe string.

(Be nice please, I'm new )
I'm a couchsurfing host and it works very well, though be aware that hosts in desirable destinations may be snowed under with requests. (I know a lot of hosts in London have given up because they were getting requests every day of the year.) I have met a wide range of interesting people, and one day I hope to be able to visit them in return. The site has pretty good controls and advice to keep you safe, and there are even some couchsurfing families.
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# 9
tejsmith
Old 17-11-2011, 8:33 AM
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We have rented out our spare room in London for nearly a year through Crashpadder, Airbnb etc and love it! It's helpful to have the extra money coming in (although we are one of the cheapest in London) and it's great meeting new people. We've had some really interesting people come to stay. We 'vet' them by reading their profile and introductory message to us. It's far from foolproof but so far we haven't had anyone we wouldn't have back.
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# 10
coolcaravans
Old 11-01-2012, 6:43 PM
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Smile Renting your space through Airbnb

We have recently listed our beachside caravan in Norfolk with Airbnb. Someone mentioned the key is to take great photos. However, I was surprised to see that Airbnb will provide a local photographer free, to take photos for you. After listing our place, I clicked a button to take them up on this offer. I was contacted by a photographer from the area, who came out to take brilliant photos which are now uploaded onto the site. It looks great!

Last edited by coolcaravans; 11-01-2012 at 6:44 PM. Reason: typo
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# 11
businka
Old 12-01-2012, 1:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahemmm View Post
I'm a couchsurfing host and it works very well, though be aware that hosts in desirable destinations may be snowed under with requests. (I know a lot of hosts in London have given up because they were getting requests every day of the year.) I have met a wide range of interesting people, and one day I hope to be able to visit them in return. The site has pretty good controls and advice to keep you safe, and there are even some couchsurfing families.
Can you please post the website here? I am thinking about becoming a host, as I live in York..
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# 12
jordylass
Old 20-06-2012, 10:47 AM
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Ages since an update to this conversation. The website is www.airbnb.com they recently took over the more local crashpadder.
Airbnb had an event about the Olympics for London hosts last night in Bloomsbury theatre with complimentary pimms it was a bit dull, although the TFL rep was very entertaining.
I've hosted with them for quite a while, and my bookings are fairly steady because of the amount of reviews and references I have, but it must be hard to start now as there are about 30 rooms in my area as oppose to 5 a year ago...but that all means lots of choice in terms of accomodation and cost for people traveling to London.
I have been and hosted couchsurfers for many years so it isn't that much different and airbnb have a huge insurance policy should something go radically wrong. Having said that I've only met nice people and have no heistation in recommending it as a way to travel.
There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.
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# 13
juli
Old 23-10-2012, 8:42 PM
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Default Help request

I wonder if you can give me some advice? These sites e.g. airb&b look very interesing and I do have
a self-contained annexe room available. However I would only let it very occasionally e.g at weekends only?
I spoke to my mortgage company and they say i would need a
commercial mortgage, which they don't offer. I think a commercial mortgage would make it too expensive to proceed. I can understand if I was to run it as a commercial B&B but it is
just one room,andI would only let it when convenient.
Its in lovely spot though
and think it would be popular with tourists,
but a commercial mortgage sounds an expensive option.
I thought about the lodger scheme, but I want
the room to be available to family and thsi would give
more flexibility How do people tackle the mortgage issue?
Thanks for your help
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# 14
miduck
Old 23-10-2012, 8:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juli View Post
I wonder if you can give me some advice? These sites e.g. airb&b look very interesing and I do have
a self-contained annexe room available. However I would only let it very occasionally e.g at weekends only?
I spoke to my mortgage company and they say i would need a
commercial mortgage, which they don't offer. I think a commercial mortgage would make it too expensive to proceed. I can understand if I was to run it as a commercial B&B but it is
just one room,andI would only let it when convenient.
Its in lovely spot though
and think it would be popular with tourists,
but a commercial mortgage sounds an expensive option.
I thought about the lodger scheme, but I want
the room to be available to family and thsi would give
more flexibility How do people tackle the mortgage issue?
Thanks for your help
If you are looking to let the room out then you will be running a business from home, and you will need the relevant permissions from your lender and the correct insurance cover. Your income would also need to be declared to HMRC.

With regard to the mortgage, if the lender deems that you need a commercial mortgage then so be it. This is not the same as having a lodger - the same person renting the room on a regular basis.
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# 15
travelenthusiast
Old 09-11-2012, 12:27 PM
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Cool General advice

hi,
I've tried couch surfing on and off and got on ok with it, but when I wanted to stay in LondonI 've used a website called Room Paddy It's a newer version of airbnb (I think, I've never used them) and it was great. Helpful people, a good selection and you can chat to your host before committing anything. Also, if the place is grubby or not like it was advertised you can call them and you get a refund, so you have some security.

I decided to put my spare room on there when I returned and it's working out great so far, had a couple of people to stay who I've really got on with and it's been tremendous fun.

I really recommend people's spare rooms as somewhere to stay and if you need a bit of extra cash renting yours is a fun and flexible way of doing it!
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# 16
philfrommanch
Old 05-09-2013, 9:51 AM
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I think a note of caution is due to people considering using AirBnB - although the company is actually involved in every transaction - they take the money and pass it on to the owner less their cut - the company makes no checks to verify that the commendations are genuine - and some at least are false.

One guy near us rents out his whole house and never actually lives there - effectively doing what the State of New York was concerned AirBnB was doing, namely allowing people to start illegal hotels which fail to meet the fire regs etc.

His site includes at least two wonderful testimonials - from his sister who lives just four doors away! Now, of course, if you believe pigs can fly he may be charging his relatives to stay in his house but the smart money knows better. And of course, even though her photo shows clearly who it is, nowhere in the testimonials does she reveal she's the sister of the owner.

In my view this is misleading at least, misrepresentation at worst. The important thing is that AirBnB make no attempt to stop this misleading practice and if the ignored email I wrote to them is any indication, they aren't interested either. They don't even bother to put up a caution like Trip Advisor do now they've been caught out publishing false testimonials.

So, make up your own mind, but be aware and beware.
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# 17
philfrommanch
Old 05-09-2013, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miduck View Post
If you are looking to let the room out then you will be running a business from home, and you will need the relevant permissions from your lender and the correct insurance cover. Your income would also need to be declared to HMRC.

(snipped)
I understand that HMRC are aware of the potential for owners using AirBnB's service to avoid tax liability since the owners receive their share of the income from AirBnB via Paypal. Compared to opening a simple savings bank account or even doing business with a solicitor in the UK, opening a Paypal account is easy. Anyone with a business overseas can easily put all his income via AirBnB outside the clutches of HMRC.
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