The short-term home-sharing industry has faced a spate of troubles in recent years as companies are accused of making housing unaffordable, reducing the supply of homes for long-term rentals, and being intrusive in residential areas. A project from Amsterdam has been started to address the ethical issues of this industry, calling itself ‘Fairbnb’. This project aims to remake the home-sharing model so that the rentals can further enhance the host community’s amenities and housing options.

Fairbnb runs on a non-profit co-operative model and have co-op members from a few European countries. In its preparation, they have also spent time consulting communities in some cities. How they differentiate themselves from the traditional model is by giving half of the commission on bookings back into the fund of the community where the apartment is hosted. The money would be used to fund projects in consultation with the local community. Essentially, by providing the space for rentals, they are also reaping returns to improve their living spaces.

In addition, Fairbnb also commits to tackle the issue of abuse through accountability and transparency in their dealings with the local communities, stating their plans to follow local laws and commit resources to self-police areas in less monitored places.  

Read the full article on City Lab: ‘Fairbnb’ Wants to Be the Unproblematic Alternative to Airbnb


This new project comes as good news in an effort to provide solutions to problems caused by existing players of a disruptive technology. While much of the recent discussion focuses on the negative impact Airbnb and its competitors have brought upon the property industry and communities, there was little being said about how things could be better. This non-profit is proposing a promising solution that could force the incumbents to reconsider their approach and clean up their act.

Fairbnb’s sustainability and effectiveness can only be known after it has tried to implement its plans. It is encouraging to have an example of how there are new organisations that are willing to approach the business in an ethical manner to improve the communities’ instead of merely extracting its resources. However, it will require skilful implementation of well-thought out strategies for the business model to succeed, and to restore trust in the stakeholders involved.

Questions for further personal evaluation:

  1. What do you think about the alternative to Airbnb and its viability?
  2. Do you believe that Fairbnb will take off and solve the current industry problems?

Useful vocabulary:

  1. ‘eviscerating’: deprive (something) of its essential content
  2. ‘fraught’: (of a situation or course of action) filled with or likely to result in (something undesirable)
  3. ‘siphoned’: draw off or transfer over a period of time, especially illegally or unfairly