London: Anti-piracy company Web Sheriff is stepping into the vacation rental market to police rentals that are being run by ‘rogue landlords’ on platforms such as Airbnb, Vrbo and HomeAway, on behalf of residents and homeowner associations around the world.
In a press release, Web Sheriff CEO and founder, John Giacobbi, announced the launch of a ‘world first’ service that aims to remove all listings that bypass minimum stay and maximum occupancy regulations on online short-term rental platforms. The firm says the character of holiday villages, condo complexes and popular city neighbourhoods is being “decimated by absentee landlords”.
Giacobbi said: “Everywhere from Barcelona to Edinburgh and from the US to the UK, rogue landlords are being allowed to put profit before people and cash before communities. They ignore regulations controlling minimum stay and maximum occupancy, by filling their properties with an endless conveyer-belt of stag nights, frat-house parties and weekenders.
“Not only is this destroying the social-fabric of neighbourhoods, but it’s also driving-up property prices and rental costs, driving-out families and local, long-term residents in the process. These ‘wham-bam’ landlords are only interested in one-night-stands – they make a quick-buck and then move-on to the next Airbnb renter.
“Shockingly, some tenants themselves are also now abusing the system and one renter who rented an apartment from Westminster Council in London has recently been caught and evicted for hiring out the property as a pop-up brothel.
“As the rental platforms don’t appear to be policing themselves adequately – and indeed have no financial incentive to do so – Web Sheriff has now stepped in to help local residents, homeowner associations, city halls and councils preserve the residential nature of their communities,” he added.
Web Sheriff, which was founded in 2000, has previously been a web enforcer in show business, launching the notion of web rights and introducing innovative concepts such as internet service provider liability and paparazzi agency liability.
Giacobbi said: “The pioneering zeal of Web Sheriff has always been reflected in the ground-breaking nature of the services that we have introduced over the past two decades – and siding with local residents against rogue landlords who abuse platforms such as Airbnb very much follows the same, evolutionary and revolutionary pattern. We’re saddled-up and ready for action.”
For more information, visit the Web Sheriff website here.