It was the day the South Korean police came barging into my Airbnb apartment and fair to say I was not too impressed at the whole situation, as it brought a little stress to the holidays and it caught me quite unaware.
Anyway, here is the story of my Airbnb Seoul experiences.
First of all, this post is not a dig at Airbnb Korea! I think Airbnb is a terrific organisation that I will use on numerous more opportunities and a convenient system that does indeed work for the majority of the time.
In life, little problems can arise, and it did on this particular morning, hence this short episode I am about to share with you right now about an Airbnb experience I had in Seoul of South Korea.
The Airbnb Experience Seoul
In a recent trip to South Korea, we booked our accommodation through Airbnb, using their services for the first time and the whole experience was going smoothly.
On the Airbnb website, we were able to find a lovely lofted apartment, perfect for a family of four and in an ideal location of Seoul.
Everything went well with the booking, the owners were helpful upon checking in to the apartment, and more importantly, the apartment was clean and spacious.
And yes, Airbnb is legal in Korea, but like anything in life, it comes with rules and organisation.
So what went wrong with the Seoul Airbnb Apartment?
A few days into our stay, my wife, who is Korean, went out to catch up with friends. I was in the apartment with my two boys when there was a knock on the door, this should go well, I thought, full well knowing I couldn’t speak a word of Korean.
Of course, I opened the door (I do love a challenge).
Upon opening the door, I could see that I would indeed face a challenge because standing in front of me were three policemen. I
They proceeded to ask me, with the only English speaking police officer present, “if the apartment was rented through Airbnb?”I answered yes, why not, I had no reason to lie or hesitate.
After an initial chat at the door, the South Korean police officers proceeded to enter the apartment and began to take photos, (okay, they didn’t want precisely barge in).
At this stage, I was a little panicked, and all I could do at this time was to try and get in touch with my Korean speaking wife.
After the police wandered through the apartment, they wanted me to write a statement saying that I rented this apartment through Airbnb. The officer proceeded to explain to me that this is an illegal apartment due to being unregistered as an Airbnb apartment.
Well at this stage, I was furious, not at the police but at the owners who I paid perfectly good money to for rental of the studio.
They proceeded to give me the paperwork for a statement; it was in Korean writing. I refused to write the report because it wasn’t in English, even though the officer offered to translate. That’s nice but no. Don’t ever fill out a statement when you can’t understand the text, a golden rule in life.
The police told me that they would return when my wife got home, and before they left, I gave them the details to the owners through the booking report. Leaving the apartment and reassuring me I was not in trouble and that our stay in the studio would continue.
All’s well, and end’s well I suppose.
The police never returned to the apartment as they said they would.
And I wish I could give you a fitting conclusion, but what I do know, however, is that the owners were in the police department no more than two hours later and in a little bit of trouble.
Of course, I was not privy to all the information at what happened to the owners of the Airbnb apartment, but it’s safe to say that the owners probably got a good old fine.
A decent whack I suppose for not being honest landlords.