Booming Airbnb service a displeasure to apartment residents

By Ngoc Diem   November 13, 2023 | 04:22 am PT
Booming Airbnb service a displeasure to apartment residents
Visitors wait to check in at the Masteri Millennium residential complex in Ho Chi Minh City's District 4 in November 2023. Photo courtesy of a local resident
The growing number of Airbnb guests in apartment buildings have become a displeasure to many local residents as entertainment services are overwhelmed while late-night noises disrupt their sleep.

The Masteri Millennium residential complex in HCMC’s District 4 sees people queue up for elevators during weekends, many of them tourists who only stay for a couple of days.

Thu, an occupant, says during weekdays she only needs to wait for five minutes for an elevator ride, but the duration jumps to 15-20 minutes during weekends.

The pool in the building’s seventh floor is filled with foreigners during weekends, and she has no choice but to take her kids elsewhere for their swimming lessons.

The gym also bursts at the seams then.

Hung, another resident of the complex, says there are nights when visitors make loud noises until 2 a.m.

"Our premium building complex has now turned into a hotel. People come and go freely."

Masteri Millennium received nearly 1,300 visitors in October, 78% of them foreigners. The building management had to deal with four security disruptions caused by them, Le Truong Son, its deputy chairman, says.

In another residential building in District 4, the police recently busted a group of illegal gamblers who rented an apartment there for VND2 million ($82.02) a night.

The recent boom in Airbnb and other similar services in major cities like HCMC and Hanoi have become a cause of concern and annoyance for apartment residents because of the disruptions caused by guests.

The visitors range from couples and groups of friends to families seeking to stay in a fancy apartment for a night or two without having to pay for a five-star hotel.

Features like swimming pools and gyms also attract many visitors who pay a mere VND1-3 million per night.

Duong, an Airbnb host, says he rented four apartments long-term, renovated them, and listed them on the platform at VND1.5 million per night each.

The profits in the last 12 months have been 20%, he says.

"My friends and I have together invested in a few more apartments in Hanoi."

But the lack of regulation of such businesses could cause trouble, analysts warn.

Than Ngoc Tung, a supervisor at property consultancy CBRE in Hanoi, says Airbnb-like services are booming because there is large demand and a host can list their house without any difficulty on online platforms.

But the presence of short-term visitors can create disruptions in apartment buildings as local residents feel their rights to access features of the building are hampered, he added.

Without proper management, people can take advantage of these services to host illegal activities such as abusing prohibited drugs or gambling, he said.

Leasing an apartment unit for short durations is actually a violation of the Housing Law, but hosts have been doing so due to lack of supervision, he added.

"Regulations need to be modified to catch up with new business models."

Le Hoang Chau, chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association, said that the laws should require Airbnb hosts to register as a business and to pay tax. They also need to comply with apartment building regulations.

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