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Airbnb vs Happipad

Airbnb VS Happipad (an Airbnb alternative)

Airbnb and Happipad are both websites that allow you to rent space within your home to guests for shorter or longer-term stays. Both websites will allow you to earn extra money and manage your rental, however, they were each created to serve a different purpose. Read on to find out what is best suited for you.

1. Overview of Happipad and Airbnb

You are likely familiar with Airbnb which was founded in 2008 in San Francisco, California. Airbnb was launched as an alternative to hotels, allowing people to rent their spare rooms on a nightly basis. Airbnb has since grown to a global scale and offers renting of bedrooms, entire homes, and even experiences.

Happipad is a social enterprise founded in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada by a student-professor team from the University of British Columbia. Happipad was launched in 2018 as a service for mature home owners to rent spare bedrooms to vetted students for medium-long term stays. As of 2020 Happipad has expanded to offer young professionals and 55+ adults with rental options.

While both websites allow you to rent your room in a similar manner, Airbnb is catered towards short-term rentals of a few days at a time. Happipad is catered towards hosts who want longer term stays and the ability to choose renters based on personality and lifestyle.

2. Service fees

Airbnb’s service fees are variable and include both host and guest service fees.  Airbnb charges a standard 3% fee to hosts on every booking, plus an extra fee of under 14.2% to guests above the listing price. There is also an option for a host-only fee to retain closer control over pricing, this varies between 14-20%. In summary, the total service fees vary from 14-20% and are charged to both the host and guest. 

In addition to service fees, Value Added Tax (VAT) may be charged on top of both host and guest service fees when using Airbnb.

Happipad’s service fees are more straightforward. Happipad is free to register and post a property. Happipad has a one-time background screening fee of $20.95 for all users to ensure the integrity and safety of the platform. Hosts incur a one-time service fee of $50 for each renter they rent to. Renters incur a 5% monthly service fee based on the rent amount. Check our pricing here for information. 

Both platforms collect rent directly from guests/renters and pay hosts automatically

3. Bylaws and business license

You may have heard about municipalities cracking down on short-term rentals and talks of outright banning them. Recently, many municipalities have changed bylaws restricting all short-term rentals, not just those listed on Airbnb.

If using Airbnb you should consult your municipality before offering short-term rentals to ensure municipal zoning and bylaws permit. In most cases, you will need to acquire a business license and home insurance that permits short-term rentals at a minimum. Municipalities may also restrict what parts of your property you can rent and how often you can rent it.

Happipad’s platform was designed to be compliant with municipal bylaws from the beginning. You do not need to obtain a business license. You can house 2 or more renters at a time depending on your municipality. Your standard home insurance will cover you in most cases, however, you should always inform your provider of any changes.

NOTE: You should always consult your strata bylaws (if applicable), and your home insurance provider before doing any rentals. 

4. Types of properties

A major difference between Airbnb and Happipad lies in the types of rental listing, and the type of properties guests are looking for. 

Airbnb allows the listing of entire estates, tiny homes, or individual bedrooms and shared spaces. Rentals may not always include a kitchen. Shared spaces may have other residents or guests sharing bathrooms and common areas. These rentals attract guests on vacation or short-term stays.

Happipad only allows for renting of bedrooms or in-law suites where the host lives in the same home. Renters must be provided with access to a kitchen, a private or shared bathroom, and access to common areas of the home. These rentals attract renters looking for longer-term stays who want to live in a secure and stable home.

5. Rental terms and evictions

Airbnb is intended as a short rental solution, however they do allow for monthly rentals at some properties. For stays of one month or longer, rentals through Airbnb may be subject to local residential tenancy laws, this means guests may establish rights as a tenant instead of an Airbnb guest. Airbnb does not provide rental contracts for these long term rentals, hosts should provide their own rental contracts which are compliant with residential tenancy laws. If your guest refuses to leave at the end of stay you will have to consult your local residential tenancy branch for guidance on the eviction process.

Happipad’s rental terms can be any length of time with a minimum of one month. This minimum term is for compliance with municipal regulations so that hosts do not need to be licensed as a short term rental provider. All Happipad rentals are structured where the renter is an occupant of the home instead of a tenant. This means renters have permission to reside at the property but are not entitled to the same rights as a tenant. Evictions of Happipad renters are simple and do not require court orders like typical evictions for tenants, Happipad also provides support with this process if required.

6. Cancellation policies

Airbnb offers different different levels of cancellation policy from flexible with a 24 hour cancellation policy to super-strict with a 30 or 60 day cancellation policy. Super-strict cancellation policies provide a 50% refund if the guest cancels 30 or 60 days before check-in, respectively. Cancellations less than 30 or 60 days result in no refund for the guest. Standard long-term cancellation policies include a 48 hour free cancellation period after booking if the cancellation occurs at least 28 days before the check-in date. Cancellations less than 28 days before move-in result in the guest losing their first months rent payment. 

Happipad has one standard cancellation policy for all bookings. All bookings are given a 24 hour review period with free cancellation with this time. If the renter cancels more than one month before the start date, half the monthly rent, less a $50 administrative fee, is refunded to the renter. If the renter cancels less than one month before the start date, half a months rent, less a $50 administrative fee, is disbursed to the Host.

7. Types of Renter

Airbnb guests are typically looking for shorter term stays, this typically attracts guests needing temporary accommodation for business trips or vacation. These guests are less likely to interact with the host and typically have higher expectations for the home to be cleaned and maintained for them. 

Happipad renters are typically looking for a more intimate housing experience. These renters tend to be mature students, working professionals who are relocating to a new city, or older adults looking for longer-term stable housing. These renters typically interact regularly with the hosts including sharing meals and helping with household chores and cleaning.

The type of home environment you want will be a major factor in determining which platform is best for you.

8. Review system

Both Airbnb and Happipad have reviews for hosts and guests, completed within 14 days of the rental ending. Airbnb reviews are made public where anyone can read them, whereas Happipad reviews are not accessible to the general public. Airbnb reviews heavily influence a hosts rating and ability to receive future bookings, this can provide hosts with less power to voice against bad guests. Happipad’s reviews are more favorable to hosts who have a negative experience with a renters.

9. Background screening

Both platforms incorporate background screening and identity verification

Airbnb has a mandatory identity verification process for both hosts and guests which must be completed prior to booking. Airbnb may conduct a background check on guests who live in the United States if enough information is given, and may conduct background checks for guests outside of the United States if they have enough information. These background checks reference public state and county criminal records in addition to state and national sex offender registry. 

Happipad has mandatory identity verification and background screening checks. Happipad uses a sophisticated identity verification process that compares a renter’s government ID and a live selfie picture with government records. In addition, Happipad conducts a mandatory background check on renters, searching over 200,000 international databases for court records, sex offender lists, eviction records, negative news, fraud watch lists, terrorist watch lists, and much more. A key difference with Happipad is that all users – host and renters – must complete the identity verification and background screening before accessing our services.

In addition to background screening, Happipad utilizes detailed personal profiles where hosts can compare a renter’s lifestyle, interests, and even personality. If renters have a pet, hosts can view the details and photos of the animal.

10. Support 

Customer support from each platform is quite different as they each aim to provide a different experience.

Airbnb allows for 24 hours to file a formal complaint when a guest moves in. For any complaint or problem, Airbnb suggests you contact them. Most support is handled through the Airbnb website or app.

Happipad’s support is more hand-on, you will often be connected to a dedicated account manager for help. They will help you finalize bookings and rental contracts, ensure receipt of payment, and assist with move-in and move-out procedures. If any conflicts or problems arise during the rental period, Happipad will work with you to resolve the issue, including mediation of disputes. Happipad is a great option if you are more of a traditional person and appreciate support from real people.


Both platforms have their own unique advantages. The platform you choose depends on what you want to accomplish.

Airbnb can be used for long-term rentals, however, it is really best suited to short-term rentals of a few days at a time. It also has much higher service fees which may deter some guests from wanting to book longer stays. Additionally, Airbnb hosts have less control over screening and choosing guests, so caution should be taken before accepting a long-term rental.

Happipad is a solution catered towards people looking to rent space within their homes for longer-term rentals. Happipad provides a more hands-off approach, providing hosts with more freedom and less responsibility. Hosts will receive more detailed information about guests, comprehensive screening reports, and more personal support to help with any problems.

Want to try Happipad? Create your first listing for FREE, click here to get started.

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