Both of the following are available from Wired Magazine. Also available as a Podcast:
The curious tale of a man called Christian, the Catholic church, David Schwimmer’s wife, a secret hotel and an Airbnb scam running riot on the streets of London
It’s November 2019 and I’m standing in an Airbnb in Battersea, south London. But this is not the Airbnb I booked. Everything is slightly, confusingly, off. All the rooms are the wrong sizes, all the furniture in the wrong places. There are hints everywhere that something is up: the apartment block, a barely finished newbuild sandwiched between Battersea Park station and a Catholic church, is teeming with cleaning staff. There are cleaners in the hallways, cleaners lobbing bin bags of rubbish out of the front door, cleaners grabbing armfuls of bed linen in the elevator. It’s like a hotel – except there’s no front desk, and the allegedly clean duvet on my bed has a human-sized, yellow sweat stain running down its centre.
The capital is awash with rentals that bear all the hallmarks of hastily rejigged Airbnbs
They’re calling it the Airbnb Apocalypse. In forums and on Facebook groups, in YouTube videos and on subreddits, Airbnb hosts who have built vast but flimsy short-term rental empires are facing huge losses as the global tourism industry collapses due to the coronavirus pandemic. As Airbnb bookings vanish, scores of hosts are scrambling to find long-term tenants for their properties, flooding rental websites with cut-price furnished apartments right in the centre of some of the world’s most expensive cities.