After a destructive night of mayhem at a property listed on Airbnb, it is understandable the residents of Framingham are now even angrier with – or even warier of – University students.
As an out-of-state transfer student, it was a shock to me to learn the residents of this town-turned-city harbor some disdain for FSU students. I wondered what the reasons might have been, but they became clear after the night of the party.
To say the students in attendance were beyond disrespectful and inappropriate doesn’t even come close. The owner of the house, who has always been willing to rent to students – a rarity in itself – will probably never rent to us again.
At the same time, none of this is new to me. For almost 20 years, I lived next to a university about eight times bigger than FSU, so I understand how disruptive college students – even in relatively small numbers – can be.
The problem is the noisy minority can sometimes overpower the majority who just keep to themselves and mind their own business.
But the solution is not to outright ban Airbnb, as Detroit did (whether they’ll actually enforce the ban), and go back to the traditional hotel or motel room model.
Some may not know the minimum age is 21 to book a room in a hotel. I was 20 at the time of my transfer student orientation, having traveled alone to Framingham the day before. My only option for an overnight stay was Airbnb, as the surrounding motels and hotels would not allow me to book a room and stay in it by myself.
Airbnb is an extra source of income for residents, not only the MetroWest and Boston, where rent is constantly increasing and people are struggling to make it month-to-month. These properties are the moneymakers for many good, hard-working people who deserve the inherent respect of any honest transaction.
Airbnb has its problems like any other service, and the concerns about safety and accessibility brought up by neighbors in Airbnb-adjacent units are fair. But for many university-age people like myself, it’s not only usually the cheapest choice, it’s also often one of the only viable options for short-term vacationing and overnight stays.
It should not fall onto the shoulders of responsible students who require simple accommodations, or property owners who need to make a living, to bear the brunt of irresponsible students who just want to party.