Why I'd not recommend Airbnb anymore, at least in Taipei

I’ve been renting AirBnb places for the last couple years, mostly to visit Taipei and some friends I have here, also when I was studying Mandarin. So I have rented about 10-15 different places here in Taipei. The price for a AirBnb is about US$50/night. It will skyrocket during Christmas and New Year holidays. I don’t see any low seasons anymore. You can find cheaper places, if you are OK to sleep on a wooden plank and have no windows in your room. For a “good” place, the price will be about US$75-100+.

BUT overall, the value is pretty terrible. The landlords are sharks. They post pretty pictures on the website but when you check-in the place, it’s actually a shithole.

I’ve seen places where the bed has been fixed with cardboards, wallpaper was peeling off the wall, you’d find hairs in your bed, broken doors that you couldn’t close, noisy fridge near your (noisy) bed, wall painted in black, no hot water, etc… All these places had 4+ stars on Airbnb.

Landlords will always ask you to not mention Airbnb. Some will ask you to throw your garbage in public bins, which is not legal, don’t do that. Check-in is often painful, landlord are late, the lockbox is not working or they changed the passcode but forgot to mention it.

Some places are OK and landlords are nice, but that’s not the majority, most of the time I was disappointed.

Then you can file a request to have a refund but your holidays are already wasted and you’ll lose hours to get your money back.

A hotel room in Taipei cost between $50 and $100 for a 3 stars to 4 stars hotel on Agoda. If you want, you can rent a room for $18, for a 1 star hotel or a dorm room. You’ll know exactly what services they offer, and if you’re not happy with the room, they can move you to another one, sometimes you have breakfast included and you’ll always have room service and a clean bed/bathroom everyday. Check-in is usually 24/7 and you always have somebody in the lobby to answer a question or request.

So why renting a Airbnb? I am not sure anymore. I think most people are happy because they don’t compare the prices anymore.

Airbnb is now too popular, popularized by nomads and hippies, but it’s not that much a good deal anymore, and sharks took over the place. It is still good if you want to meet people and live in a family or discover some crazy homes or activities, otherwise, I’d skip it, especially in big cities. Also considering that it increases the price of real-estate, as it’s still badly regulated in most countries, including Taiwan.


Airbnb is a major hotbed for scams these days.


My local brothel down the road is now an Air BnB. Probably more profitable as the girls were getting on in years.


I’ve tried AirBnB a couple of times and not been particularly impressed. In general, go with a hotel or a professional B&B operator. There are, of course, plenty of genuine professionals on AirBnB, but far too many of them are either clueless or deliberately scamming people.

There’s another reason for avoiding them: AirBnB take a 30% cut of the overall rate, which accounts for almost all of the operator’s profits. This is completely unconscionable, IMO, considering how little they have to do to get that payback. Don’t support this sort of predatory behaviour. It’s almost inevitable that this kind of exploitative business model will attract a high proportion of scam artists and couldn’t-care-less landlords, because the legitimate operators simply can’t make any money on the deal.


Airbnb has sort of fallen out of fashion. More people seem to be using the Couchsurfing app. I trust neither, of course. I’ll always opt for a hotel, a hostel, or nice bed and breakfast.

1 Like

Erm, wouldn’t that be women then?

Airbnb has never appealed for me as at the end of the day you are dealing with an individual, not a business. They could cancel your whole booking after you’ve paid for your airline tickets, in peak season. No one with a family is going to take that sort of risk. Sure you can leave some bad feedback, but it’s not gonna get you out of having to pay rack rates elsewhere because you are booking last minute.

Couchsurfing is that app where you try to bed the landlord on her own couch, right?

1 Like

Probably. All the people I’ve known who use it are unscrupulous singles who tend to hook up with the person they’re staying with.

I think that someone is misusing the word “tenant” in the OP and replies. The tenant is the person who is staying somewhere, not the person who is providing the accommodation.

1 Like

Sorry. My Bad. I edited my post and replaced “tenant” by “landlord”.

1 Like

AirBnB is fine when you are like 21.

1 Like

i’ve used air bnb once in london. i had to make small talk with the guy living there. who was also staying there. it was weird. he left for a night out or something and it ended up we had the place to ourselves but it felt wrong using the guys living room and kitchen etc when we already saw him living there.

i’m basically fine with using hotels.

1 Like

We used it as a family in Amsterdam, was pretty hilarious, a divorced pothead was the landlord, was kind of cool to talk to a local…Used a few times in Taiwan years ago but as the price increased hotels became a much better option all round…A lot of those airbnbs in Taipei are in run down apartments in dodgy areas, also no proper fire escapes and windows.

1 Like

As recently as last fall I had very good luck with 3 Airbnb’s in the States. The prices were terrific. Probably wouldn’t use it anywhere outside N America, though. You have to be careful, fact.

Helps to chat a bit with the landlord before leasing, and it really helps if you’ve owned your own house before (def helps read between the lines). I suppose it’s also relevant that I’ve spent more time than I care to think about in hotel rooms, though. Hate 'em, esp for long stays.

eta: the best one I had last fall was in an apartment complex in Austin. Learned the landlord was a manager for the company that owns lots of apt complexes in the US. The apartment I rented was a perk of being a mgr. She had fixed it all up and in general loved the idea of meeting new people thru it. She had snacks waiting, kitchen was packed with good utensils, fridge had food in it, freezer had ice pops in it, bathroom had toothpaste, razors, shave cream, sunscreen, soap, clean towels, etc etc. Cable tv, fast wireless, Netflix account for guests to use. Super comfortable, around $50/night.


It doesn’t sound like you have really given the idea a chance, unlike the OP. I am not saying what you described doesn’t happen – heck, anything could happen. But that is far from a major risk.

Like the OP, I have used Airbnb a lot - the US East Coast and Midwest, Europe, Southeast Asia, and China. But I have not used it in Taiwan - not because I do not like or trust Airbnb hosts here, but simply because I have a home of my own here.

While I have had some less than ideal experiences, and a couple of unpleasant ones, the vast majority of them have been good to great. Maybe I don’t expect much to begin with, so I have set myself up to be impressed when things actually and normally turn out fine. I do not expect them to be hotel type experiences, and there have been times when I have interacted with hosts (and enjoyed the experience), although I usually seek out entire apartments because I am usually traveling on business, not holiday.

So, for most people, I recommend it as a good opportunity to get good value. Sure, it isn’t for everyone, but just like how Uber isn’t for everyone - but for the 90% of us who understand that when real life happens, you make do and learn what good you can from the experience, Airbnb is a something that works very well.

Now, if it isn’t working well for Taipei these days as the OP has pointed out, that is fascinating and worth looking carefully at. But citing egregious examples and not your own experience is unhelpful.


It depends on where. There is no need to use airbnb in taipei as hotels are better value for the same money and more convenient.

Outside tw its more useful. ho chi minh vn cheaper hotels are dodgier and airbnb is way better and saves a lot of money.

1 Like

I never end up doing AirB&B. The prices have honestly gone up and it’s often not much cheaper if at all from hotels in the area if you dig around for good hotel prices. I just don’t trust Air B&B. I know what I can expect from a hotel, I also enjoy having my room made up every time I come back.


Big fan of Airbnb but research is essential. I’ve stayed in Australia, NZ, UK and in Italy so far.
Use the filters: superhost/ entire place/and anything else that is important to you.

I wouldn’t use it for places in Asia as hotels and service are good, but you can find some really special places around the world if you’re willing to put the hours in.

I’m sure most of them are good. But when things go wrong, it’s a problem. I don’t want no problems on my vacation.

And honestly, if I’m looking for really cheap ones, I would rather do a quality hostel that has good reviews. That’s what I did with my friends when we were in college.