Today, the Attorney General again made it clear that he remains determined to comb through the personal information of thousands of regular New Yorkers just trying to make ends meet. We were proud to stand up for our hosts who share their homes and against this over-broad, government sponsored fishing expedition. Cities like Paris, Amsterdam and Hamburg are embracing the sharing economy and New York shouldn’t be stuck playing catch-up.
Over the past few months, we’ve shared a lot of good news with you about Airbnb and Portland – we announced our new Shared City partnership with the city in March and we’ll be opening our North American Operational Headquarters there this summer.
Today, we released a study with more good news about Airbnb’s positive impact in Portland. The study found the Airbnb community generated $61 million in economic activity in Portland in one year and supported 660 jobs.
Portland residents use Airbnb to help afford their homes, pursue their dreams, and share the city they love with the world. The study found 84 percent of Airbnb hosts in Portland share only the home they live in and 65 percent of Portland hosts said they have used Airbnb income to help afford staying in their homes. Hosting also helps Portland residents to pursue innovative careers and non-traditional forms of work. Forty-five percent of hosts are self-employed, freelancers or part-time workers.
Airbnb also attracts new travelers to Portland who stay longer and spend more than traditional hotel guests. These travelers are seeking authentic, local experiences in Portland and across Oregon.
Highlights from the study include:
- The typical Airbnb host in Portland occasionally rents out only the property in which he or she lives to help afford increasing costs of living. 84% of Airbnb hosts rent the home they live in, and the typical host earns $6,860 per year in Airbnb income. 65% of Portland hosts have used Airbnb income to help afford staying in their homes.
- Airbnb hosts are diverse in age and many are low-middle income. The average age of Airbnb hosts in Portland is 42, and 40% of hosts earn below Portland median household income.
- Hosting enables Portland residents to be more entrepreneurial and pursue nontraditional forms of work. 45% of hosts are self-employed, freelancers, or part-time workers, including 12% of hosts who have used Airbnb income to support themselves while launching a new business.
- Airbnb guests stay on average 3.9 nights (compared to 2.1 nights for traditional hotel guests in Portland) and spend on average more than twice as much over the course of their trips ($815 compared to $360 for the traditional hotel guest).
- Airbnb allows guests to stay in traditionally less-visited neighborhoods and support the local businesses there. 96% of Airbnb properties in Portland are located outside the main hotel areas, and 98% of hosts suggest local restaurants, cafes, bars, and stores to their guests.
Portlanders have long-embraced sharing, and this study shows the positive impact that can bring to the city. Airbnb will continue to build on this impact in Portland through the Shared City initiative by collaborating on campaigns to attract sustainable forms of tourism, send visitors to local businesses, and support disaster relief programs. Airbnb will also collect and remit taxes to the city of Portland on behalf of our hosts and make it easy for Portland hosts to donate the money they earn from Airbnb to a local cause, matching those donations as a percentage of our fees.
For more details about Airbnb’s economic impact in Portland, check out the press release.
Last month, we launched our Shared City initiative because we believe we should work with cities so everyone benefits from home-sharing. We saw during SuperStorm Sandy just how much our New York community wanted to help the city it loves so much, when hundreds of our hosts opened up their own homes to people in need. Countless other generous acts happen that don’t make any headlines, but we see them every single day.
This initiative came about because we care deeply about cities and we strongly believe that Airbnb makes neighborhoods better places to live, work and visit. So when we hear cities express concern about how home-sharing might affect their neighborhoods, we take them very seriously.
For example, some cities have questioned whether short-term rentals might have an impact on affordable housing.
To help answer this question, we first asked Ken Rosen, a noted housing expert and professor at U.C. Berkeley to examine these issues for us in New York and San Francisco. He reported that short-term rentals aren’t driving up rents or having an impact on the rental housing market. Prices go up and down, and there are lots of reasons why cities are expensive, but our community is not one of them. Rosen reported: “We believe that the short-term rental industry is having little effect on urban apartment markets.”
In fact, Airbnb makes cities more affordable. 87 percent of Airbnb hosts occasionally rent out only the property in which they actually live and we’ve heard from countless Airbnb hosts in New York who have been able to pay their bills and stay in their homes thanks to Airbnb. All told, 62 percent of Airbnb hosts in New York said Airbnb helped them stay in their homes and the typical Airbnb host in New York earns $7,530 per year — a modest, but significant amount that can make a huge difference for families.
The bottom line is clear: Airbnb makes New York more affordable for New Yorkers and our community generates real benefits for everyone in New York. The Airbnb community will generate $768 million in economic activity in New York in 2014 and support 6,600 jobs. Travelers will have the chance to stay in unique spaces and visit small businesses in all five boroughs, and the Airbnb community will pay more than $36 million in sales taxes.
We also received questions about the impact some Airbnb hosts were having on different neighborhoods. The New York Attorney General and other officials raised concerns about bad actors abusing our site in New York, so we decided to investigate this as well.
We know that our community of more than 500,000 hosts around the world creates amazing, personal, local experiences for millions of guests a year. The vast majority of our hosts are just regular people, renting out their own home to travelers. But some of our hosts have always managed multiple properties, either for others or on their own.
In many large and small cities and vacation destinations, the local economy relies on these kinds of property groups and governments embrace them. They are providing safe, positive experiences to vacationers and they pay their fair share.
But when we examined our community in New York, we found that some property managers weren’t providing a quality, local experience to guests. These hosts weren’t making their neighborhood stronger and they weren’t delivering the kind of hospitality our guests expect and deserve. In some cases, they were making communities worse, not better. We took a hard look at our community in New York to identify these hosts and we took action.
Earlier this year, we began notifying these hosts that they and their more than 2,000 listings would be permanently removed from the Airbnb community. While we are allowing these hosts to support their existing bookings, all are now prohibited from accepting new reservations and if you search for a place to stay in New York, you won’t find these listings.
In an attempt to distract from their vast data demand on regular New Yorkers, the New York Attorney General’s Office has circulated a list of Airbnb users with a large number of listings. Every host on this list that rents apartments has been notified that they and their listings will be permanently removed from Airbnb. That means they can’t accept new reservations. Their profile pages may still be available on our site, solely to support existing reservations. When their existing bookings end, there will be no trace of them on Airbnb.
Our efforts to review and strengthen our community in New York are ongoing. We are a young company, we are constantly learning. We are committed to making cities better and will, to the extent possible, investigate complaints when we receive them. And we will be taking even more steps to make communities stronger in the years ahead. We look forward to continuing to work with our community and city leaders around the world as the sharing economy moves ahead.
Today, I sent an email to Airbnb hosts in New York and I want to ensure folks who read this blog have a chance to see it as well. The text of the note I sent today is below.
Dear Airbnb Host,
Last year, we were shocked when the New York Attorney General demanded personal information about thousands of New Yorkers who share their space on Airbnb. But we were amazed at what happened next.
Everyone in the Airbnb community, people who care about privacy and countless New Yorkers said enough is enough. This attack on thousands of regular New Yorkers who occasionally rent out their homes was a wrongheaded waste of time and law enforcement resources. We weren’t going to take it.
I heard you speak out at meetings in New York and online. And I was honored to stand with you. But I didn’t anticipate sending this email because I never thought we’d be talking about this issue so many months later.
The Attorney General said he was going after a few bad apples, so we were optimistic that we would resolve this matter. But actions speak louder than words. Time and time again, the Attorney General has demanded personal information about thousands of New Yorkers. He professed to be interested in collecting more tax dollars for New York. Last week, we once again campaigned to change the law so our community can contribute $21 million in taxes to New York.
In response, the hotel lobby said it would fight this common-sense proposal and the Attorney General made it clear that he will seek personal data on our users until the end of time. The Attorney General has now modified his request for data about our community. Barely. If you’re one of the thousands of New Yorkers who has ever rented out your place while you were away for a weekend, the Attorney General still wants to know who you are and where you live.
So, the fight continues. I want you to know what happens next.
On Tuesday, Airbnb will be in court in Albany, fighting the Attorney General’s demand for your data. The government will accuse Airbnb hosts of being bad neighbors and bad citizens. They’ll call us slumlords and tax cheats. They might even say we all faked the moon landing.
That’s OK. We know the truth and we’ll fight to make sure the court and everyone in New York hears some simple facts:
- The vast majority of our community members are regular New Yorkers just trying to make ends meet.
- We want to collect and remit taxes on behalf of our hosts, and lobbyists for the big hotels are standing in our way.
- Short term rental laws were never meant to apply to New Yorkers occasionally renting out their own home.
- The small group of bad actors that abused our platform aren’t part of the Airbnb community anymore, or they are on their way out the door.
- Our community will generate $768 million in economic activity in New York in this year alone.
The judge in this case could issue a ruling on Tuesday, or take weeks or even months to make up his mind. He could rule in our favor, or against us. He might ask the Attorney General to narrow his demand. If we are ordered to hand over any data, we will work to ensure you are properly notified before the government receives any information about you or your listing.
No matter what happens in the courtroom, we’ll be holding a community meetup in New York City on Wednesday at 7:00 PM and a webinar on Thursday at 11:00 AM. At each event, we’ll answer your questions and discuss the next steps. We’ll email additional details about these events in the coming days.
Taking on an Attorney General who is determined to fight innovation and attack regular people isn’t easy and we won’t succeed without standing together. We’ll do everything we can to keep you informed about this case and our work to fix the bad law that made it possible.
Finally, know this – New York is lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to the sharing economy for now, but that won’t last forever.
City after city is embracing our hosts and the sharing economy. Hamburg, then Amsterdam, and now France have all changed their laws and to support homesharing. San Francisco might be next. Someday, New York will join them. Someday, our amazing community and the passion they have for New York will break through opposition from people like Attorney General Schneiderman. We saw how our hosts banded together after Superstorm Sandy to open up their own homes to people in need, and that kind of love for New York and for New Yorkers manifests itself every day in countless other ways Eventually, the small group of politicians who feel they must oppose us will fall away, and New York will truly become a Shared City.
Standing together, showing the world who we are and what we stand for, we will turn the tide in New York.
Thank you for all you do.
Head of Global Public Policy
Earlier this week, we released new data indicating that the Airbnb community will generate $768 million in economic activity in New York and support 6,600 jobs this year. We highlighted a state law that prevents Airbnb from collecting and remitting $21 million in hotel taxes. And we asked leaders to work with us to change the law to permit Airbnb to collect and remit taxes on behalf of our hosts and guests. It isn’t every day that a company offers to help contribute more tax revenue.
In response, hotel lobbyists said they don’t want the Airbnb community to pay taxes. The media reported that our effort to pay hotel taxes would be “[met] with stiff resistance from the hospitality industry.” The Hotel Association of New York City said if there was a proposal to allow our community to contribute $21 million to New York they would “oppose it, certainly.”
We were extremely surprised by their response. We’ve had a number of conversations with hotel operators in New York who understand how Airbnb works and have continued to thrive as our community grows. And the same organization and other New York hotel leaders have previously indicated that they were concerned about the Airbnb community not paying hotel taxes.
We thought you should know more about what some New York hotel leaders had been saying, before they changed their tune:
In August, the Chief Executive of Apple Core Hotels complained “These people [who rent out their apartments] don’t pay taxes…The web sites may tell them they need to pay all taxes, but they don’t require it.”
In February, the Hotel Association of New York City complained that Airbnb hosts don’t pay hotel taxes.
In March, the Hotel Association of New York City raised concerns that Airbnb led to “lost revenues for the city.”
In April, Lodging Magazine reported that “Many hotel owners have been up in arms because Airbnb hosts are not subject to traditional hospitality based regulations or requirements, such as paying lodging taxes…”
Our community wants to pay their fair share in taxes and contribute more to New York. A small subset of hotel lobbyists and officials shouldn’t stand in their way. We hope we can all work together to put New York first and we are confident that the vast majority of policymakers in New York will be eager to partner with us to help collect these valuable tax dollars.
Today, President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors David Chiu is proposing new rules for home-sharing in the city of San Francisco. While we still have a long way to go before we get a good law enacted, we wanted to tell you about this exciting news right away.
This legislative proposal acknowledges what our community already knows: San Franciscans should be able to share the home in which they live.
By proposing this legislation, Supervisor Chiu has taken a critical step towards recognizing the benefits of home-sharing for everyone in San Francisco. We applaud President Chiu for his leadership and his work over the last two years to bring together so many stakeholders who care deeply about home-sharing. And we look forward to continuing to work together on these important issues. We strongly believe Airbnb helps make San Francisco more affordable for homeowners and tenants alike. We’ve heard countless stories from hosts who have avoided eviction or foreclosure thanks to Airbnb, and we’re eager to work on policies that support the sharing economy and make San Francisco an even better, more affordable city to call home.
There are certainly provisions in this proposal that could be problematic to our hosting community, including a registration system that could make some of their personal information public, so there is much work to be done to ensure that we pass legislation that is progressive, fair, and good for San Francisco and our hosting community.
But this is an important first step, and it is just the beginning of what promises to be a very long process during which the entire Board of Supervisors will look at this proposal, hear from all sides—including our community—and make decisions about how to proceed.
Most critically, if the legislation introduced today were to pass and be signed into law, San Francisco residents will be able to share the homes in which they live with travelers from around the world.
Under the legislation introduced today:
- Residents of San Francisco would be able to offer their primary residence to travelers from around the world.
- Hosts must have some basic insurance or damage protection, or list on a platform that does. We believe that Airbnb’s Host Guarantee will allow members of our community to meet this requirement.
- The proposal protects rent control by maintaining the current rule prohibiting rent-controlled tenants from earning more than they pay in rent.
- Airbnb guests act responsibly, but in the rare instances when home sharers using ours or other platforms do act as bad neighbors and a community member complains, the city can investigate and take corrective action.
- Airbnb will collect and remit occupancy taxes on behalf of hosts, as we have already volunteered to do.
- A host accused of violating the law by his or her landlord will have options to avoid eviction and comply with the new law.
This proposal, while not perfect, brings us closer to transparent, fair, progressive home-sharing rules. These can be tough issues, but we are absolutely committed to working with policymakers in San Francisco to craft solutions that make the city stronger and ensure the Airbnb community can continue to thrive.
This work is particularly important to us because San Francisco is our home and it always will be. Airbnb got started a little more than five years ago when two of our co-founders, Brian and Joe, were struggling to pay rent for their apartment on Rausch Street and decided to share their home with visitors from around the world. Today, Airbnb helps countless San Franciscans pay their bills and stay in their homes in the city they love. According to an analysis of our community in the city:
- The overwhelming majority of Airbnb hosts share only the home in which they live.
- More than half of Airbnb hosts have lived in San Francisco for more than 10 years.
- 75 percent of Airbnb hosts who rent their home in San Francisco said they use their Airbnb income to help pay their rent.
- On average, hosts use 95 percent of the income they receive through Airbnb on regular living expenses like rent or groceries.
- 18 percent of hosts who rent their home and 15 percent of hosts who own their home have avoided eviction or foreclosure thanks to Airbnb.
- And more than 180,000 visitors have come to San Francisco and stayed with Airbnb hosts over the last year alone. The visitors spend more, stay longer, and visit more local businesses than hotel guests, bringing huge economic benefits to the City.
But numbers don’t tell nearly the whole story.
Behind those numbers are thousands of hosts and hundreds of thousands of visitors to San Francisco—enriching neighborhoods, touting San Francisco as a destination for travelers around the world. Hosts who can pay their bills, avoid foreclosure, spend more time with their families and pursue their dreams. Guests who experience the real San Francisco and visit local, sustainable businesses and stores off the beaten track. Hosts and guests who develop friendships, and reconnect with real people and real neighborhoods.
We want to work with the Board of Supervisors and everyone who cares about this vibrant city to ensure that these connections continue, and that our community of hosts can continue to share their homes and afford to live in San Francisco. And we want to ensure that everyone in San Francisco has their voice heard so we end up with fair rules that let us all share the amazing city Airbnb has always called home.
Today was a great first step. But now the hard work begins, and we will need you, our community, to stand with us every step of the way.
Every day, Airbnb hosts in New York welcome guests from around the world into their homes. They use the money they earn to pay their bills, stay in their homes, and pursue their dreams. And their guests get to experience New York like a local, exploring neighborhoods and local businesses that don’t typically benefit from tourism. Just this year alone, the Airbnb community will generate $768 million in economic activity in New York and support 6,600 jobs.
But this contribution could be even larger—New York will lose millions of dollars because current tax law prevents Airbnb from collecting and remitting occupancy related taxes on behalf of our hosts and guests. Our community wants to pay its fair share, and we want to help.
If leaders in Albany change the law, the Airbnb community could contribute more than $21 million in taxes to the city and the state – money that could be used to support programs for education, health, housing, and public safety. That money could make a real difference for New Yorkers.
Check out the infographic below for more details on what our community already does—and how much more our hosts and guests could support if the law changes.
When we announced our “Shared City” initiative last week, we received an incredible outpouring of support and interest from our community, the press, and governments around the world. We are very excited about the response, and we want to keep striving to ensure that our community continues to help cities around the world.
Part of our first Shared City partnership with Portland will be to collect and remit occupancy taxes on behalf of our hosts there. Today, I held a question and answer session with hosts from San Francisco to talk about the Shared City initiative and announced that we’ll soon be collecting and remitting taxes on behalf of our hosts in San Francisco as well.
We have repeatedly said that we believe our community in San Francisco should pay its fair share of taxes. We know from countless discussions with our hosts that they want to pay taxes, but some of these rules are arcane and difficult to follow. Some hosts have even tried to pay taxes in San Francisco and been turned away.
We want to help solve this problem. We’re still working on some operational details, but our goal is to launch this program for San Francisco hosts this summer.
Of course, we don’t always agree with governments about what sales and occupancy taxes are owed under the law, if any. Our hosts are not hotels, and most of these tax laws were not designed for them. But whether or not we agree with the tax laws, we want to help our hosts follow the rules. It’s good for the government officials who won’t have to identify hosts and collect the taxes themselves: we’ll do the work for them. And it’s good for hosts who want to pay their fair share.
We are a growing company in a new economy. We are taking this action—and initiating our entire Shared City program—as we strive to help make cities stronger, safer, more financially stable. And we’re excited to continue this pilot program in San Francisco. This city is our home and we look forward to continuing to work with everyone here to make it an even better place to live, work and visit.
Earlier today, the President of France signed into law “Bill ALUR”—new national housing legislation. This new law is great news for the Airbnb community in France, and a great example for other jurisdictions around the world.
The law clarifies that wherever you live in France, you can rent out the home in which you live, without having to ask permission from your local city hall.
The vast majority of Airbnb hosts around the world—including 83 percent of Airbnb hosts in Paris—share their primary residence, so these rules are a positive development for everyone who cares about home-sharing and the benefits it brings to people and local communities.
Bill ALUR also includes rules for the short-term rental of properties that are not primary residences. In most parts of France, the rules will not change: the short-term rental of these properties will not be subject to new restrictions. In larger cities, the short term rental of non-primary residences will also be permitted, but some cities may impose some additional requirements. For instance, cities may be able to:
Define specific criteria that will be used to temporarily grant hosts the opportunity to share non-primary residences on a short-term basis.
Or require hosts to apply for a change of use authorization, so as to clarify that the residence is being used full-time as guest accommodation.
And, as usual, we encourage all Airbnb hosts to understand and comply with all of the rules and regulations that might apply to them, including seeking the authorization of a landlord if they are tenant.
This positive development in France comes as more and more communities are examining the sharing economy and discovering how Airbnb and home-sharing makes cities and neighborhoods better places to live, work and visit:
The Amsterdam City Council gave final approval to a new policy that embraces home-sharing and makes Amsterdam a pioneer in the global sharing economy.
The government in the UK has announced that they’ll be reviewing a key section of that 40-year-old law — the Greater London Powers Act — that governs home-sharing in London.
In Hamburg, it is entirely legal to use Airbnb to rent out a private room or to occasionally rent out your primary residence and you do not need to take any action or apply for a license from the government.
The French government has taken the time to understand that sharing the home you live in does not have a negative impact on housing availability or affordability for local people. Quite the contrary: it is helping many local people keep their homes.
We appreciate the work done by the French government and Parliament on this matter and we look forward to partnering with more communities around the world in the weeks and months ahead.
Une avancée majeure en France
Aujourd’hui, le Président de la République a promulgué la loi “ALUR”, nouvelle législation sur l’hébergement en France. Cette nouvelle loi est une grande avancée et une bonne nouvelle pour la communauté Airbnb en France. Elle devrait également servir d’exemple à d’autres réglementations dans le monde.
En effet, la loi ALUR officialise le fait qu’aucune autorisation de la mairie n’est nécessaire pour les propriétaires qui souhaitent louer leur résidence principale, et ce dans l’ensemble des communes françaises
La vaste majorité des hôtes Airbnb dans le monde -dont 83% des hôtes à Paris- louent leur résidence principale sur le site. Cette nouvelle législation est donc une avancée positive pour tous ceux qui mettent à disposition leur logement, y accueillent des voyageurs et en font profiter leur quartier.
La loi ALUR encadre également la location courte durée des résidences secondaires. Dans la grande majorité des communes, les règles ne changent pas : la location saisonnière de ces résidences ne sera pas soumise à de nouvelles restrictions.
Dans les villes de plus de 200 000 habitants et les zones d’urbanisation continue de plus de 50 000 habitants, la location courte durée de résidences secondaires reste autorisée mais certaines villes auront la possibilité d’ajouter des règles spécifiques.
Ainsi, les villes pourront :
soit définir pour les propriétaires de résidences secondaires des critères spécifiques à l’obtention d’une autorisation temporaire de location de courte durée
soit mettre en place une procédure de changement d’usage pour les résidences secondaires
Comme toujours, Airbnb encourage ses hôtes à respecter les règles et lois en vigueur sur leur territoire, y compris à obtenir l’autorisation de leur propriétaire s’ils sont locataires de leur logement.
Cette avancée très positive en France arrive alors que de plus en plus d’autorités locales se penchent sur l’économie du partage et comprennent combien Airbnb et le partage de sa résidence principale font des villes et des quartiers concernés de meilleurs endroits où vivre, travailler et à visiter:
Le Conseil Municipal d’Amsterdam vient de valider une nouvelle législation dans le sens du partage de sa résidence principale pour faire d’Amsterdam une ville pionnière de l’économie collaborative
Le Gouvernement britannique a annoncé qu’il allait revoir une partie de la Loi du Grand Londres (datant de plus de 40 ans) qui traite de l’hébergement de courte durée à Londres
A Hambourg, il est désormais légal de louer une chambre ou toute sa résidence principale occasionnellement. Il n’y a pas de démarche particulière à effectuer ni de licence à obtenir
Le Gouvernement a mesuré l’importance et la valeur que de plus en plus de Français accordent au partage de leur résidence principale sans que cela n’ait d’impact négatif sur l’offre locale de logement ou le niveau des loyers. Bien au contraire : cela permet à certains de rester dans leur foyer.
Nous apprécions le travail effectué par le Gouvernement français et le Parlement sur le sujet et nous souhaitons continuer à dialoguer avec d’autres villes et gouvernements à travers le monde dans les semaines et mois à venir.
Every day, we hear stories from our community that highlight how Airbnb is changing the way people live and travel. We wanted to better understand Airbnb’s positive impact in the cities we love, visit, and share.
That’s why we began measuring Airbnb’s economic impact in cities around the world through a series of studies, starting with San Francisco in 2012. Since then, we’ve released studies in New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Barcelona, Edinburgh & London, and Sydney.
Around the world, the results have been the same: Airbnb is helping hosts stay in their homes and pursue their dreams, supporting local businesses that haven’t benefited from tourism in the past, and providing travelers with authentic, local experiences.
Today, we’ve compiled the numbers from around the world into a new summary to help better understand Airbnb’s global impact. It’s a lot prettier than this blog and you can check it out here.
Highlights from around the world include:
550,000 homes are shared by hosts in cities all over the world. 82% of hosts share only the home in which they live.
Hosts use their Airbnb income to help make ends meet. 47% of hosts say hosting has helped them to stay in their homes.
Airbnb travelers stay longer and spend more, in diverse neighborhoods throughout the city. 76% of Airbnb properties in these cities are outside the main hotel districts, and half of Airbnb guest spending occurs in the neighborhood where they stayed.
To date, hosts have welcomed over 11 million travelers who wanted to experience cities not as tourists, but as locals. 76% of Airbnb travelers want to explore a specific neighborhood, and 89% want to “live like a local.”
As Airbnb’s community grows and changes, we will continue to share with you how Airbnb is helping to make neighborhoods better places to live, work and visit.