Airbnb Creates New Community Compact, Promises to ‘Self-Regulate’
As the New York City Council considers new rules to regulate apartment sharing sites such as Airbnb, the home-sharing startup’s public policy blog recently released a statement or “community compact” pledging to “promote responsible home sharing” and acknowledging that a “dense, urban city may have different concerns than a historic vacation town or a non-traditional travel destination.”
New York State’s Multiple Dwelling Law prohibits New Yorkers from renting out entire apartments for under 30 days if the tenant on the lease is not present. And Airbnb’s new compact pledges to pay the “fair share” of hotel taxes in states where such taxes apply (which does not apply in NYC where the law prevents the startup from collecting taxes directly from its own users).
In addition, the startup is pledging to be more transparent by providing large cities like New York and San Francisco with “anonymized information regarding hosts and guests in our community.” Airbnb intends to “work with individual cities to identify the specific types of data they need to craft fair, progressive rules.”
Airbnb will also release annual “Home Sharing Activity Reports” that will detail income per average Airbnb host and safety records for Airbnb listings among other data sets, but exclude statistics like the number of Airbnb users with multiple listings in the city, or the number of days a listing is rented each year—both telltale signs of illegal hotel operation.
The compact also assures cities that “we will educate our hosts and work to help ensure they agree to a policy of listing only properties that are permanent homes on a short-term basis.” But also the compact makes assurances that the community “has demonstrated that it can self-regulate. And per our commitment to being open and transparent, the information released will provide a way to show that our community is doing right by the cities where they are sharing their homes.”