CNBC Report Probes Airbnb On Illegal Listings

Hot in the press is a recent CNBC investigative report about Airbnb, “Unwelcome Guests:  Airbnb, Cities Battle Over Illegal Short-term Rentals” that is getting a lot of traction.  Focusing on short-term rental enforcement by the City of Miami Beach, the report illustrates the urgency of the challenges facing cities that are working to fix short-term rental concerns for the sake of their residents. CNBC journalists were able to show the deception in Airbnb advertisements, as well as their beliefs that rules don’t apply to the $30 Billion company. Combined with a report from the New York Comptroller’s office, highlighting Airbnb’s impact on raising rents, municipalities are paying closer attention to Airbnb’s deceptive business practices. The piece includes an on-air interview with Airbnb’s Chris Lehane, who dodges questions about illegal listings on the platform, and closes with a McGill University Professor questioning the company’s business model.

Meanwhile, a few markets remain on pace to adopt regulations against Airbnb. Last week, the Government Operations subcommittee of the Boston City Council held a working session on the short-term rental ordinance introduced by Mayor Walsh earlier in May. The Massachusetts Lodging Association, AHLA and a broad-based coalition support the Mayor’s proposal, which eliminates investor or “plus 1” listings and has a strong set of regulations that welcomes home sharing, while setting ground rules to ensure consumer safety and affordable housing concerns. The Boston City Council continues to debate the ordinance antecedent to a possible vote in June. The City of San Diego awaits Mayor Fauconer’s compromise short-term rental plan, with anticipated release in June, prior to the July City Council hearing. In Los Angeles, the short-term rental ordinance is pending a hearing by the City Planning Commission. The Pennsylvania General Assembly is considering a bill requiring short-term rental record keeping, reporting, hosting platform registration requirements and respective penalties and fines.