Saturday, October 22, 2016

Airbnb faces regulatory headwinds in NY

The FT has the story:
Airbnb faces fight for survival in New York City
Governor set to sign legislation likely to end start-up’s business in Big Apple

"The online service, which connects owners of homes and flats with tourists and other renters in cities around the world, has often clashed with regulators which accuse the company of facilitating illegal hotel businesses and reducing affordable housing stock.

In New York, hotel unions and New York City officials have been particularly vociferous on the company’s failure to comply with a 2010 accommodation law that banned short-term rentals in Manhattan, but which is rarely enforced.

On Wednesday, Airbnb said that it wanted to pay taxes in New York, estimating that it could generate about $90m a year in the state under its new registration scheme. The company also proposed a new “three strikes” rule that would permanently ban hosts who broke the 2010 law more than three times.

The company has already reached agreements on collecting and remitting taxes with many other cities, including Paris, its largest market. In New York City, Airbnb hosts 46,000 flats and homes.

Like other such Silicon Valley start-ups that have disrupted traditional business models, Airbnb has been forced, often through confrontation, to become more responsive to local regulators and interest groups as it expands."

And, after the governor signed the bill,
Airbnb Sues Over New Law Regulating New York Rentals
"Hours after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York signed a bill that would impose steep fines on Airbnb hosts who break local housing regulations, Airbnb filed a federal lawsuit contending the new law would cause it “irreparable harm.”

The heightened battle in New York follows lawsuits that Airbnb has filed against its hometown San Francisco and in Santa Monica, Calif., which have both moved to fine the company for illegal listings.

The company, which operates in a regulatory gray area around the globe, is also fighting tough battles in Amsterdam and Barcelona, Spain, which penalizes hosts who list illegal rentals, and in Berlin, which has banned most short-term rentals."

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