I’m searching on AirBnB for a place in Berlin.
Thing is this : yesterday, I found a place. Didn’t think that much of it, but there’s very little choice, so I bookedmarked it. I didn’t contact the owner.
Today when I search, it’s not there.
If I go to the bookmark, put my dates in, it’s there.
This is also true for another property I looked at and contacted yesterday.
In short : AirBnB search results, on the face of it, are at least partially fucked. They simply are not showing matching results.
In other news, AirBnB owner pricing, Jesus. People have no clue how to price their homes. I mean, I understand, how can they know, really, except maybe by looking at the non-AirBnB market, seeing normal prices, and then adding some extra to cover partial occupancy.
But I mean – seriously – people are not going ot pay 6000 euro a month FOR A ROOM. People are not going to pay 700 euro a month FOR ONE BED IN A SHARED ROOM WITH TWO OTHER PEOPLE. Come on, FFS. Get a clue. (Or fix your typing errors? should it have been 600 and 70, respectively?)
Berlin in fact a year ago introduced rent controls. People seem to be happy that rent prices have gone down. People are also fucking stupid. If you force down prices, you force down supply. Prices have indeed gone down – thus so has supply – which means the amount of unmet demand HAS RISEN. More and more people CANNOT GET A PLACE AT ALL. The number of people turning up to view every place which is available gets higher and higher.
I’m finding in AirBnB prices are much higher – about 2x – that of the local market. This reflects the real price, rather than the price the State forces owners to offer unless they want to go to jail. In fact, the political parties are forcing owners to make involuntary contributions to their electoral success.
Another aspect of this is that salaries are priced to rent controlled rents, which makes taking an AirBnB prohibitively expensive. Additionally, the city has passed a law which states that people can only offer, without obtaining a permit, rooms on AirBnB if it is 50% of less of their own property. Anything more, or rooms not in your own property, or a property of your own which you wish to let in full – you need to apply for and be granted a permit; and I have no idea what that involves, how sane it is, how much it costs, if there’s a limit on how many are granted, etc. (I think I read something like the city intends to refuse almost all of them).
As an aside, there’s another peculiar things going on with AirBnB. Firstly, AirBnB appear superficially to have lots of properties – try searching without dates, you’ll see so much stuff.
However, if you actually look at any of them, almost all of them are completely unavailable. Their calendars are fully booked forever. Perhaps they’re on AirBnB, but the owners only rent them out once in a long while. However, when you search, AirBnB always says something like “only 1% of all listings are available! BOOK NOW!!!!” I *think* that 1% (or whatever number it comes ot be) is including all these properties which are not and would never be available to you, i.e. completely and utterly fake and there simply to deceive you into renting.
I’ve also run into a proper with Iceweasel, the Firefox rebrand for Debian. Apart from the usual appalling performance problems Firefox runs into when it’s been running for more than ten minutes with Google Maps and AirBnB (I’m not even kidding), what I’ve found is that after a little while, I cannot correctly type in text areas any more. Typing producing sometimes the letter I’ve pressed, sometimes a semi-random letter, usually a “h” or an “r”. Seriously. Backspace produces an “r”.
I have to compose anything I wish to type in a text editor, and then, with some care, ctrl-a and delete (doesn’t always work; sometimes produces a “h”) anything I’ve typed so far and replace it with my message.
THis of course is an ongoing theme in my life : software simply doesn’t work. Even the most basic, fundamental, jesus-christ-SURELY-you-cannot-get-THIS-wrong functionality is broken.
Turning back to how Berlin is fucking up its rental market (and so, indirectly, its labour market) we see in addition that tenants have massive protection under law. The result of *this* is that landlords – naturally enough – are absolutely paranoid about who they let to. Three months deposit is the norm, tons of documentation, proof of income, good character, you name it.
The result is that if you’re an outsider, *you cannot rent from an owner*. It is impossible for you to meet the criteria. Also, even if you’re an insider, God help you if you’re less than perfect…
To protect you as a tenant, we had to make so it so you could not *be* a tenant.
As an outsider, you must sub-let. Problem with this is there’s so much unmet demand (see rent controls) that every letting has tons of people wanting it – so the subletter wants to meet them all, see who he likes, perhaps who is offering the best extras on the side (“that huge box of chocolate with 500 euros in is for me? how kind!”), and then pick.
If you’re an outsider, outside of the city, can’t turn up? forget it. It is actually impossible for you to sub-let.
This leaves, finally, renting a room, and even this faces the same – albeit less intense – problem of taking a place cold.
Great, huh? Berlin. AirBnB has been fucked, you can’t rent a place directly, sub-letting is problematic and renting a room very difficult. The labour market is of course strangled; people can’t get in.
This is however pretty much normal for most European cities.