Who'd like to stay in a room like this? By Edward Branieh.
Enterprising and hospitable Londoners are coining it in renting out their spare rooms to those seeking an authentic city stay that's a step up from couch surfing and a step down from hotel tariffs. Airbnb connects "people who have space to spare with those who are looking for a place to stay". Need an overnighter this weekend? There's a whole studio available in Aldgate for £66 a night, a double room in an Art Deco block in Hackney for £45 (they'll even lend you a bike) and even a floor in Putney to crash on for just £8. Hosts are reviewed Ebay style by their guests so concerns can be allayed by picking one with a good reputation. Airbnb takes 3% of the cost of the room, so hosts have a financial incentive to be welcoming, if they want to earn their 97% on a regular basis.
All sounds rather lovely, no? Sure, as long as you're cool sleeping in a stranger's house, bumping into them on the way to the bathroom, warding off their dog and venturing into strange neighborhoods. Sure, if you're happy to waive your right to complain to an industry regulator, should your expectations be disappointed or you fall foul of someone else's hygiene problems or worse. And, before we put the guest room of Londonist Towers up for grabs, is anyone clear when renting out a spare room for the night becomes sub-letting and how our beady eyed landlord might feel about it?
Have you used Airbnb? Would you? Let us know what you think about impromptu homestyle hoteliering in the comments.