Hospitable giant Airbnb and Offer F
Yesterday, November 3, San Francisco residents voted on Proposal F , an initiative that helped seriously undermine Airbnb’s business worth $ 25 billion. Residents of the company’s hometown voted to limit short-term rental housing to 75 days a year and to ensure that Airbnb takes responsibility to track and delete offers from offenders on its website. But the project failed.
In the very heart of Silicon Valley, the community of homeowners, groups of activists of the districts and advocates of the rights of residents collected more than 20 thousand signatures in order to say “that's enough for us”. Airbnb has spent more than $ 8 million on the opposition Offer F campaign. For comparison, the other side raised a little more than 350 thousand dollars.
What caused the unrest?
The problem is that Airbnb does not have normal control over who rents out and what guests come to their homes. Neighbors suddenly find themselves on the same site with a whole "hotel", where completely strangers come who are in close proximity to children, elderly people and other vulnerable groups. Yes, such a "circulation" occurs in ordinary hotels, as a rule, they are located on a specially designated territory for this.
Who actually rents housing? There is a sharp discrepancy in how the company positions itself with what we see in reality. Airbnb portrays the image of "ordinary people" who own real estate, who agree to rent out their "extra" rooms to tourists in order to earn an extra penny in this difficult time. These people are the face of the company. But what could be wrong here?
Here's what's wrong: in cities like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, Airbnb-related business activities have increased, which have nothing to do with “ordinary people” renting empty rooms. The rooms are rented by professional homeowners who clean their homes from the local market, which suffers from a lack of rental real estate, and make it accessible exclusively to tourists.
In 2014, Eric Schneiderman, the Attorney General of New York, conducted an investigation that revealed that about 40% of Airbnb’s $ 451 million in revenue comes only from New York and those hosts that have at least three offers for site.
Data analyst Tom Slee collected information from Airbnb in September this year and found that out of 30,268 housing offers in New York, 44% of guests choose hosts that own multiple apartments. Various studies show that a third of rental properties in San Francisco are owned by people with two or more offers on Airbnb - and they bring in more than 40% of the profits. These are not just “ordinary townspeople” who rent a room in their apartment - few people can afford to buy such an amount of real estate. These are professionals.
Under political pressure last year, Airbnb began to delete the accounts of some particularly malicious violators, but recent data show that the situation has not changed. With its activities (and inaction on the part of control), Airbnb essentially deprives affordable housing of local residents.