Looking to live like a local on your next vacation? Well, you might be in luck. Short-term vacation rentals, in which hosts rent out rooms in their homes to tourists, are on the rise.
But as "Early Show" Contributor Taryn Winter Brill found out, these brief stays come with real risks for both hosts and guests.
Brill shared the story of Talin Akdemir, of Australia, who recently went on vacation in New York City. However, instead of staying in a hotel, she rented a spare bedroom in Seth Porges' Brooklyn condo, which she found on Airbnb, a short-term vacation rental website. For $90 a night, Akdemir purchased a home-away-from-home.
Other bonuses included full use of the kitchen -- including food items -- free toiletries in the bathroom, access to a rooftop deck, and her own private balcony with a city view.
Akdemir said, "(Staying in someone's home) helps you to adjust to being in a different country almost immediately, because it's like home. Instead of a hotel room, you don't have a hotel key or anything like that, so it's really nice."
But it's the neighborhood she says she enjoys most.
Akdemir said, "I'm having the local experience, and that's what I was after. I didn't want to be a tourist. I wanted to live like a local New Yorker."
While Akdemir gets to live like a New Yorker, the major benefit for Porges is financial.
He said, "When you rent out your room by the night, you can make a lot more money than renting out by the month. So, being an Airbnb host, you can make a lot more money than renting the room to a roommate full-time."
Porges says his spare room is booked about 28 days out of the month, which adds up to more than $30,000 a year. With obvious benefits, Airbnb -- a $1.3 billion company -- is just one of many sites taking advantage of the short-term vacation rental market.
But there are inherent risks. These sites do not do background checks.
Nina Willdorf, editor in chief of Budget Travel, said, "When you look at something like Craigslist, I think that people don't expect there to be protections there, so they do their own extra layer of vetting, that needs to exist for anybody doing a house rental. I would not entrust a company to do that vetting for me, I would want to do that myself."
Airbnb was recently thrust into the spotlight after a woman blogged about a guest who burglarized her San Francisco apartment.
Willdorf said, "She came home and her house was trashed, and she immediately got onto the phone called Airbnb and did not get the response that she wanted. Now, they have completely stepped to it and are dealing with her, trying to make it right. After that story came out, a man in Oakland raised his hand and said, 'Hey actually an incident happened to me, as well.' This one even gets creepier."
The host says he unknowingly rented his apartment to a drug addict who trashed the place, took an ax to several doors and left behind more than one meth pipe.
While Airbnb declined an on-camera statement, the company says it's rolling out new consumer protections, and will cover up to $50,000 in damages and theft for hosts.
Willdorf said, "I don't think there's any huge risk for the vacation rental market. I think it's hugely popular for very good reasons. I think the most important lesson to come out of this is buyer beware."
A representative from Airbnb told us these incidents are rare and that the company plans to implement its $50,000 guarantee next Monday, and it has already unveiled a new trust and safety center.
These short-term rentals are illegal in several cities, including New York City.