“TOP ten Airbnb horror stories!” is a staple headline on certain list-based websites. Each litany of woe will usually include at least one tale of sexual debauchery, one of drug abuse and one of a soiled apartment. Sometimes, they manage to combine all three. “Home destroyed by Airbnb guest in ‘drug-crazed’ orgy,” is a fairly typical cross-head.

Nightmarish experiences at these short-stay rented apartments are extremely rare, of course. Indeed, the prevalence of such lists says more about people’s suspicion of a fresh business idea than it does of any real new danger. (Drug-fuelled orgies in old-fashioned hotel rooms seldom end up on BuzzFeed.) The overwhelming majority of Airbnb stays are...Continue reading