Welcome to the future. In 2017, you can order a pizza with an emoji, lose yourself in virtual reality, and, if you live in Connecticut, make an extra $5,500 per year by letting strangers sleep in your house every once in a while.
I couldn’t believe that last one either, but according to the Greenwich Times, it is 100% true. Connecticut hosts on home-sharing service Airbnb made a total of $11 million in 2016 – an average of $5,500 for each of the state’s 2,400 hosts.
Now, $5,500 seems like a lot of money, but of course that money comes with a catch. First, you have to sign up for Airbnb, which is just another email flooding your inbox every week. Then, you have to wrap your head around the idea that someone you don’t know at all will be living in your home for some period of time. And then, you have to find something to do that gets you out of the house so that those strangers can use it!
I’m honestly not sure which one of those things is the most annoying, but the whole “strangers living in my house” thing is definitely the most terrifying. There are so many Airbnb horror stories involving wild sex parties and crazy people hell bent on destroying your every possession that the risk hardly seems worth it.
Then again, who among us would say no to an extra $5,500 every year? That would probably pay for whatever weekend getaway you used to get out of the house and give you a little extra dough to stash away. And for many of us, a little extra money means a lot.
But here’s the kicker: According to the GT article, there are some real concerns about what Airbnb is doing to actual business owners in Connecticut. Each of those 11 million dollars going to Airbnb hosts is a dollar that didn’t go to a bed and breakfast owner or hotel owner in Connecticut. Those business losses concern lawmakers, almost as much as the fact that the whole Airbnb thing is unregulated – private homes being used as rental facilities even when they’re not coded as such.
I have no idea what the state should do, if anything. And as long as it’s all legal, Airbnb owners willing to take the risks should get their slice of this $11 million pie. But the idea of someone else’s nasty feet kicked up on my coffee table is a little too much for me. No thanks.