The sharing economy (or more accurately, the Smart Way To Use What You Already Own To Make Money economy), is booming. Under the banners of ‘collaborative consumption’ and ‘sharing’, we have developed some fairly odd practices. Take letting out your home, for example.

That traditional feeling of safety and privacy that we associate with our homes means that room/home letting in this way goes against natural instincts. Also; letting strangers sleep in your home while you are there is one thing. Letting strangers sleep in your home while you are not there is completely different.

Findings

To understand this growing industry, an online survey carried out by YouGov on behalf of Yoti explored people’s attitudes towards the sharing economy, specifically their feelings and concerns towards dealing with people online. The survey was answered by 2,039 adults and was conducted between 5th-6th September 2016.

17 million people booked a stay through the Airbnb website last summer, and it has roughly 1.5 million listings. Despite its popularity, reports of scams are still frequent, perhaps explaining why peer to peer property rental is still a fairly niche market – only 3% of survey respondents have used platforms like Airbnb to rent out their property. Furthermore, one in five people are not participating in the sharing economy because they are worried about scams.

There’s also the issue of not knowing exactly who you’re sharing your home with. It’s still easy for misbehaving guests to give fake names and pictures to hosts, especially when they know the host won’t be there to meet them, or be around for the duration of the stay. It comes as no surprise then that 43% of people said they would use an app to check the identity of a potential tenant. And the same is true for tenants; with 38% of people saying they’d use an app to confirm the identity of the property owner before staying there.

All evidence suggests that some form of assured identification is necessary in order to encourage further support for peer to peer property rental. Platform owners will need to work out how to achieve this in a time, cost, and effort-friendly manner. Skype calls and passport copies in the post are not a viable solution for today’s digital, mobile society.