AirBnb-style rentals: cheapness main attraction

HomeAway, Expedia’s AirBnb-style site, recently published an interesting survey into minpaku, private rentals.

The two types of rentals in the survey are first renting a complete dwelling, a flat or a house, and second, the more traditional B’n’B style of renting out a room in someone’s home. In Japan, the term is 民泊, minpaku, and taking the characters literally it might be something like “staying with the people”. There is a long history of minpaku, which used to be more like traditional B’n’B with all the regulation that goes with that, but now it is usually taken as referring to the probably-illegal-in-most-circumstances private rental of rooms and flats.

I am very much anti-AirBnB; traditional B’n’Bs have many regulations covering them, including the obvious one of insurance for guests, but most net-based rentals turn a blind eye on these regulations, and renting out complete units in blocks of flats can often cause friction with the neighbours due to guests being unfamiliar or just ignoring the social norms that apply in Japanese shared accommodation.

Two in five Tokyo home-owners think foreigners shouldn’t use Airbnb

Airbnb shouldn't allow foreigners to use their services graph of japanese statistics

Marketing Research Camp recently published a survey into Minpaku – literally “staying at private homes” – a Japanese term for “Bed and Breakfast”, and its more modern form, Airbnb.

This is a very interesting survey; the report here was based on a single question published on the web site (their full 61 page report is available for free download, however) and revealed a number of interesting statistics. In particular, the headline figure of 40% Tokyo-resident home-owners thinking that Airbnb and similar services should not accept foreign customers is quite an eye-opener. Recently, there has been a lot of news articles about poor-mannered foreign guests (and I’ve even seen other foreign residents complaining of this) being excessively noisy in common areas of flats where there is an Airbnb property, and the implication from the news being that the vast majority of the places are not people renting out a spare room, but one-room flats being bought (or indeed illegally subletted) in residential property specifically for Airbnbing while the owner lives elesewhere.

One local government in Tokyo (Ota ward) recently tried to regulate Airbnb-type rentals, but I heard just two properties applied for certification.

Just for the record, I do not approve of Airbnb-type rental outside of spare rooms in one’s own home, and I think there should be just as strict regulation of online BnB properties as there is of traditional BnBs.

Note that I’ve decided to move demographic information to the end of articles from now on.