True story… My neighbors at our Brooklyn apartment loved renting out their place on AirBNB. And the idiot that I was kept their lodgers entertained when my actual neighbors forgot there were lodgers meeting them for a key. A couple of times I actually had dinner w/ these said lodgers. Now it was against our condo board to use AirBnB or otherwise rent your unit for short-term rentals. But I know a few neighbors did this. And why not? I paid 4k for my apartment. They’d get 2k for a week! I’d have done the same, had I actually owned my place. But I digress yet again (have you guys seen the pattern of digression yet?).
SF reportedly just settled w/ AirBnB as widely reported in the Times and the rest of the internet. The technology companies such as AirBnB and Homeaway will now have to provide Big Brother with their list of hosts. This, in turn, will allow the city to vet and register hosts in order to legally rent out their units. The agreement also gives the city regulatory powers in fining the tech companies for not taking down illegal hosts upon request.
All-in-all, some sort of regulation was going to be needed in order to clear the cloud of regulatory uncertainty over AirBnB’s business model. I mean, nobody wants another Aereo, do they? The settlement brings together a resolution in two of AirBnBs most important markets, NY and SF.
As a future host, who plans on owning a bunch of units to rent out with my imaginary Google AdSense money, I’m ok with the settlement. It levels the playing field a little. There are professional hosts out there who dominate the AirBnB market. I’d say those regulations were mostly designed for those guys in mind. But that’s just my naïveté about the industry speaking. Let’s revisit in a year and see what’s actually been implemented and how the hosts in SF are faring.