When I leave my home city, which is plenty, I tend to offer my apartment up on Airbnb. If you're an Airbnb user, then I have to say thanks: You fund my wanderlust. You're welcome for the clean sheets, friendly notes, and cable television. All I ask in return is that you don't rummage through every last drawer of my dresser.
The social contract when a stranger moves into your house can be vague, defined mostly by the boundaries of civil behavior. Of course, that varies from city to city, person to person, jerk to jerk. If you're renting your home out to Airbnb visitors, you've got to be prepared for many perfectly kind and reasonable sorts, as well as the occasional rogue who may not be toilet-trained. I reached out to colleagues, friends, and fellow Berlin Airbnbers to collate some of their worst experiences.
You've been warned.
The Liquor Moocher
There's no excuse, in this life or the next, for assuming that by renting someone's flat you get open-bar privileges. Watch out for these folks: They could be anywhere and anyone, just waiting to bleed you of your single-malt Scotch or Peruvian pisco.
The Toilet Blocker
These people seem incredibly fastidious about the cleanliness of their own plumbing while having no regard for how actual plumbing works. As a result, you may find the toilet paper equivalent of a Sunday metro daily clogging your pipes upon return. A fellow apartment-renter writes to me: "A couple and their lady friend came over for Berlin pride and managed to use six rolls of toilet paper in just two days." On the plus side, having too much paper in the toilet is better than having none at all: In one instance that has entered lore, a renter came back and found a week's worth of used toilet paper festering in the trash can.
24-Hour Party People
At some point in your life as an Airbnb host, someone will trash your apartment. Saira in Amsterdam writes about a time her brother was taking care of her apartment, and noticed that things were missing. "He sent me a picture of my ceiling, asking, 'Where's the lamp?' He then noticed the house was full of bottles and cans, vodka, beer, sangria wine, everywhere." The guests did leave a note however. It read, "Thank you for providing us with your beautiful flat. Hopefully our deposit will be enough to buy you a better one." No deposit was left.