A New Use for Airbnb: Temporary Brothel

Well, this is interesting: According to the New York Post, some enterprising sex workers have been renting Airbnb apartments and using them to conduct their work. Rather than the escort agencies booking the apartments themselves, they’re having their workers book them and pay the rent with prepaid debit cards. Not only is it, as one sex worker said, “more discreet… than the Waldorf,” but even better, it’s cheaper. With the apartments costing between $200 and $400 a day, “They probably save $200 to $300 a night by not getting a hotel,” the sex worker noted. “It’s really good for business.”

Naturally, a lot of people who are just now discovering their apartments have been used as temporary brothels aren’t pleased — although frankly, I’m surprised it took this long for it to happen. The Gloss points out that although there are definitely not-OK Airbnb situations — like, for example, the one with the guy whose apartment was trashed after an Airbnb renter threw a gigantic sex party in it — it’s a little unclear why this one is such a big deal. “When a person rents an Airbnb apartment,” writes Elizabeth Licata, “they should logically be able to expect to be able to have sex in it if they so desire. Whether that sex is with a long-term partner, a one-night stand, or a paying customer seems completely irrelevant.” True that.

Of course, bad things do happen, and that’s when the matter gets a little more complicated. Publicist Jessica Penzari, for example, rented her apartment through Airbnb to a woman who told her she was in the army and needed a place to stay before being deployed. That week, though, Penzari got a call from the cops after the renter got slashed by a client in the apartment over the price of a “massage.” She found baby wipes and “at least 10 condoms” in her home when she returned. I’m all for sex work and legalization of all forms of it, but that? Not so good. I can understand why someone would be upset about it.

So, it looks like we’ve learned a few etiquette rules for both those renting someone’s apartment via Airbnb, and those doing the renting out: If you rent your place on Airbnb, it’s highly likely that someone will have sex in it, paid or unpaid; if that’s OK with you, go ahead and rent it out. If it’s not, don’t. And for people who do have sex in an Airbnb rental, be nice and clean up afterwards, OK?