By Anessa Cohen
How many of us still use Airbnb since they announced they will not provide their services for Jewish-owned properties in Judea and Samaria? Probably still a number of people, because although the announcement went through about their plan to blacklist those properties on the West Bank, until now they never made good on their promise to go through with it.
I am not sure if they realized the backlash they would get regarding this announcement from the many users utilizing their services, but they certainly must have felt it big time when many of those 200 targeted homeowners over there got together and started a class-action lawsuit against Airbnb over the targeting of just Jewish homeowners. This lawsuit is presently wending its way through the U.S. courts like a slow-flowing river while the Airbnb executives have been giving out mixed signals and stories as to the real policy in effect at the present time.
Meetings were held in Israel with representatives from Airbnb and the government addressing this blacklist and how the government of Israel planned to deal with it if Airbnb did not back off from targeting Israel solely and in that specific manner. After the meetings, there were different versions of what the ultimate results were. Israeli representatives claimed that Airbnb was going to drop the blacklist while Airbnb stated two versions: (1) that the blacklist was still active due to their addressing the blacklist being provided from the UN Human Rights Committee; and (2) although the blacklist was active, Airbnb froze the actual implementation of the blacklist and all of the properties in Judea and Samaria that were originally listed for rental were still actively being promoted.
On the one hand, Airbnb seems like a great tool to find a good apartment if you are going away on vacation and you want to research before you commit. On the other hand, I have heard so many stories of neighbors who suffer from those apartment owners renting out their apartments for short-term vacations through Airbnb; I then feel bad for what the neighbors are going through. They tell of vacationers renting the apartments and partying loudly way into the night, leaving garbage all over the place that the long-term tenants or owners in the same buildings have to deal with on a regular basis.
Some cities have even created new laws regarding the rentals of Airbnb units, and there are guidelines of which laws need to be followed to avoid being penalized if the quality of life of the neighbors is not taken into consideration.
So I ask myself again: which way do we go? Do we continue to use Airbnb or do we stop because of all this blacklist business even though, technically, the blacklist was never implemented? Or maybe we should stop using Airbnb because many of the landlords renting out these units are not being considerate of their neighbors’ peaceful-living rights; after all, the neighbors are not being paid to suffer all the tumult that goes with these rentals.
I have no idea what the answer is; I am not even sure who to relay this question to! In the meantime, I guess we continue to use them or not based on our personal feelings on the matter until we hear differently.
Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and a licensed N.Y.S. loan officer (FM Home Loans) with over 20 years of experience offering full-service residential, commercial, and management real-estate services as well as mortgage services. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, www.AVCrealty.com. Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to anessa@AVCrealty.com.