Elected officials voice their support for sharing

Every week, more and more elected officials and community leaders are learning about the important role the sharing economy can play in supporting jobs, promoting innovation, and strengthening neighborhoods across the country. Here are two recent examples you might have missed:

  • Earlier this week at the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), 55 mayors from across the country signed a letter supporting the sharing economy and pushing back against an anti-ridesharing resolution. The letter said, “The USCM has adopted robust policy in support of innovative companies that participate in the sharing economy” and “called for the creation of local task forces to review and address regulations that promote Shareable Cities and ensure public protection.” See the letter and the list of Mayors who signed on.

  • Today, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom sent a letter to the University of California questioning policies that prevent U.C. employees from using sharing economy companies when traveling on official business. Lieutenant Governor Newsom noted that a ban is “bad for California taxpayers and at odds with the University’s long and proud tradition of nurturing innovative technologies that have powered our economy.” He added:

“Sharing economy companies offer consumers more choices that often cost less than comparable services offered by traditional vendors. As the cost of a college education continues to increase and academic departments are asked to do more with less, we should be encouraging U.C. employees to choose options that save money for taxpayers. Prohibiting U.C. employees from using services that cost less is simply bad for the University’s bottom line.

“This decision also sends an unfortunate message to U.C. students, faculty and countless Californians who are striving to create the next generation of innovative businesses and technologies. For decades, the University of California has encouraged its students and faculty to explore new ideas and challenge the status quo. This should be more than an academic concept. A University that is focused on the future and committed to fostering new technologies should not work against innovators and entrepreneurs.”

Check out Lieutenant Governor Newsom’s full letter.

It now appears that the University is reconsidering these policies and we hope U.C. employees can continue to participate in the sharing economy.

Our Community in New York

Earlier today, we launched a new effort to ensure more New Yorkers know about the Airbnb community. Douglas Atkin, our Global Head of Community sent the following email to the Airbnb community in New York and I want to make sure you have the chance to see it as well.

Dear David,

I want to update you on an exciting initiative launching today to help New Yorkers get to know the Airbnb community better.

You can view one of the host videos at our new informational website at airbnbnyc.com and sign up to learn more about this effort. In the coming weeks we’ll release more videos like this one, featuring you, our hosts. We will highlight both the benefits you receive from hosting, as well as the benefits the entire city receives from our community of hosts and travelers. We think this is one of the best ways to help New Yorkers see the value of hosting and traveling on Airbnb for local neighborhoods and the New Yorkers that live in them.

Our experience and our research have shown that the more people learn about you and the amazing work you do, the more they love you. But in New York, almost two thirds of people haven’t heard of Airbnb yet. Instead, a small minority of people in New York have been painting a misinformed picture of who you are as hosts. We’ve decided it’s time to make sure every New Yorker knows more about you, our community.

If you’d like to stay involved in this effort sign up here.

Thank you for all that you do.

Douglas Atkin

Global Head of Community

Agreement in New York

As you probably know, the New York Attorney General recently issued a second subpoena demanding personal information about thousands of Airbnb hosts in New York. This morning, we announced that we have reached an agreement that we believe appropriately balances the Attorney General’s stated objectives of going after illegal hotels, while protecting as much of our hosts’ personal data as possible.

It took a long time to reach this agreement, with lots of hard work on both sides, and I want to make sure you heard from me about how we got here, what we believe, and what this means for our community in New York.

We first received a demand for data from the New York Attorney General last fall, and we strongly believed that the demand was overbroad. We began months of discussions with the Attorney General’s office to voice our strong concerns and to try to resolve the matter without turning over data on our community, and when those discussions didn’t lead to an agreement, we challenged the subpoena in the New York State Supreme Court. Last week, a judge in Albany agreed that the Attorney General’s demand was overbroad.

But the judge’s ruling also made it clear that he would accept a new, narrower subpoena and require Airbnb to turn over personal information about hosts if the Attorney General’s Office made some changes to their demands. So the very next day, the Attorney General submitted such a narrowed subpoena.

We wanted to do everything we could to avoid turning over data on thousands of regular New Yorkers, so we continued to work with the Attorney General’s Office and we now believe we have reached an agreement that will protect the privacy of thousands of Airbnb hosts, while allowing the Attorney General to investigate bad actors and move us forward.

Under the terms of the agreement we announced today:

  • Airbnb will provide the Attorney General with anonymized data about our hosts in New York. This data will not include names, apartment numbers, or other personally-identifiable information.
  • The Attorney General’s Office will have one year to review the anonymized data and receive information from us about individual hosts who may be subject to further investigation. We believe the Attorney General’s Office is focused on large corporate property managers and hosts who take apartments off the market and disrupt communities. We have already removed more than 2,000 listings in New York and believe that many of the hosts the Attorney General is concerned about are no longer a part of Airbnb.
  • We will provide even more information to hosts about the laws in New York. Hosts will see additional information before they list their space and we’ll email every host in New York with information about the law.

We believe that this is a strong agreement that best protects our community’s data and sets us on a positive path forward.

We are committed to working with leaders in New York and around the world to ensure they know more about home-sharing and how it makes neighborhoods better places to live, work and visit. And I know that our hosts and guests are committed to this kind of collaborative, constructive dialogue as well. We are pleased that we reached this agreement, but we know  there is so much yet to be done.  For instance, the law that made this investigation possible is still on the books, and we need to change that law to allow anyone in New York who wants to rent out their own home to do so.  And we need to show the world how truly amazing our hosting community is for New York and for other cities around the globe.

Good News in New York

This afternoon, I sent the following email to the Airbnb community and I want to make sure folks who read this blog have a chance to read it as well.

Dear Host,

Today, I am happy to announce that a New York Supreme Court Justice rejected the New York Attorney General’s request for your data. The court agreed with what we have been saying for months – that the subpoena was too broad.

This is a great victory for our community, and we wanted you to know about it right away.

We still believe that our community and the Attorney General share a common goal: we all want to make New York a better place to live, work and visit.  This isn’t over, and we suspect that the Attorney General may even issue another subpoena, but our hope is that we can continue working with the Attorney General’s office to try to address his legitimate concerns about large property groups abusing our platform without the need to turn over vast swaths of data on New Yorkers just trying to make ends meet.

Sometime later this week, we will host a webinar and meeting to talk through where this leaves us.  But we wanted you to know the good news as soon as possible.

The past few months have been very difficult for our community in New York, but it’s been inspiring to see our community unite around this cause.  We said from the beginning that we would stand with you every step of the way, and I’ve been honored to do so.

David Hantman

Head of Global Public Policy


The new housing law in Berlin


Several weeks ago, I wrote about proposed housing legislation in Berlin that contains some confusing provisions related to short-term rentals. This legislation will take effect on May 1 and we want to ensure you have some basic information about the new rules.

We have been working closely with local policy makers for many months, educating them about the sharing economy and the thousands of citizens in Berlin who are using Airbnb to help make ends meet by renting out the home in which they live. These hosts are not big businesses, and they are not impacting the availability of housing in Berlin. To the contrary, this activity makes it more affordable for regular Berlin residents to stay in Berlin. We will continue talking to policymakers about how to best preserve affordable housing and ensure that the Sharing Economy can continue to thrive.

The legislation that will soon enter into effect is quite broad, and not specifically focused on home sharing. As a result, the new rules may or may not apply to your specific situation. We strongly recommend that you reach out to your district’s office to find out whether the law applies to you. You can find the contact details and further information under ‘Your City’s Regulations’: https://www.airbnb.de/help/responsible-hosting

Here are the basic outlines of the law that we believe could be relevant for your hosting activities:

  • Some apartments already made available for short term vacation rental need to be registered with their local district office within three months. However, some places may not fall under the new rules or may be exempted. Be sure to double-check with your district. Upon registration, the apartment will benefit from a 2-year grace period for short term rental purposes and may apply for a permit afterwards.

  • Apartments made available for the first time after May 1, 2014, for short term vacation rental, may need a permit from the local district office. Upon application, the district office should respond within 14 weeks and in the absence of a response, the permit is considered granted.

These rules are confusing and some believe the law could be challenged on constitutional grounds, on the basis that it is at odds with the basic right of residents to use their property in the manner they see fit.

We will continue to work with policymakers in Berlin to advocate for fair progressive rules that allow regular people to share the home in which they live. We know this activity and the Airbnb community bring incredible economic benefits to Berlin.

An Economic Impact Study released last September found that 76 percent of Airbnb hosts simply occasionally share only a home they live in – they are not running a business. Sharing their own homes makes it possible for more people to stay in the home and city they love. And we know that Airbnb isn’t having an effect on the number of homes available for rent. There are 1.9 million apartments in Berlin, and only 10,000 listings on Airbnb.

We hope that the districts will clarify these complex and overbroad new rules and ensure the Airbnb community can continue to thrive. Meanwhile, we will continue to educate policy makers about the amazing personal empowerment and economic benefits Airbnb is providing to our hosts and to Berlin as a whole. We will never stop fighting for our community of hosts and travellers, and we will keep you informed as this debate progresses.


Das neue Zweckentfremdungsverbotgesetz in Berlin

Vor einigen Wochen habe ich berichtet, dass der Entwurf des Zweckentfremdungsverbotgesetzes einige Unklarheiten im Bezug auf die Kurzzeitvermietung enthält. Das Gesetz wird am 1. Mai in Kraft treten und wir möchten sicherstellen, dass Ihr über die grundlegenden Punkte der neuen Regulierung informiert seid.

Wir haben in den vergangenen Monaten eng mit dem Gesetzgeber zusammengearbeitet, ihn über die Sharing Economy informiert und von den tausenden Berlinern berichtet, die Airbnb nutzen, um sich durch die Vermietung ihrer eigenen Wohnung, ein Taschengeld dazu zu verdienen. Dabei handelt es sich nicht um Gewerbebetriebe und unsere Vermieter haben keine Auswirkung auf den verfügbaren Wohnraum. Im Gegenteil, durch die Vermietung können es sich normale Berliner leisten weiterhin in ihren Kiezen zu wohnen. Wir werden auch weiterhin mit Entscheidern sprechen und gemeinsam mit ihnen überlegen, wie bezahlbarer Wohnraum erhalten werden und die Sharing Economy weiter wachsen kann.

Das Gesetz, das bald in Kraft tritt, ist sehr breit und zielt nicht speziell auf das Teilen von Wohnraum ab. Deshalb ist es von Fall zu Fall abhängig, ob die neue Regulierung auf Eure individuelle Situation zutrifft. Wir empfehlen Euch daher dringend, das Wohnungsamt in Eurem Bezirk zu kontaktieren, um zu erfahren, ob das Gesetz auf Euch angewendet werden kann. Die Kontaktadressen und weitere Informationen findet Ihr im Abschnitt ‘Bestimmungen Deiner Stadt’: https://www.airbnb.de/help/responsible-hosting

Im Folgenden findet Ihr die grundlegenden Regelungen, die unserer Einschätzung nach die Kurzzeitvermietung betreffen können:

  • Bestehende Ferienwohnungen müssen innerhalb von drei Monaten beim Bezirksamt registriert werden. Informiere Dich bitte direkt bei Deinem Bezirksamt, ob Du Deine Wohnung registrieren musst. Nach der Registrierung kann die Wohnung aufgrund einer Bestandsschutzregelung für weitere zwei Jahre angeboten werden. Danach kann eine Genehmigung beantragt werden.

  • Neue Ferienwohnungen können ab dem 1. Mai 2014 eine Genehmigung bei ihrem Bezirksamt beantragen. Das Bezirksamt sollte den Antrag innerhalb von 14 Wochen bearbeiten. Wenn dies nicht gelingt, gilt die Genehmigung als erteilt.

Das Gesetz enthält unklare Regulierungen über das Teilen von Wohnraum und wirft laut einigen Experten auch verfassungsrechtliche Fragen, ua. im Bezug auf das Eigentumsrecht, auf.

Wir werden auch weiterhin mit der Verwaltung zusammenarbeiten und uns für eine faire Umsetzung des Gesetzes einsetzen, die normalen Berlinern erlaubt, ihre eigene Wohnung zu teilen. Die Stadt Berlin profitiert ökonomisch von dieser Aktivität und von dem Engagement unserer Community.

Unsere Wirtschaftsfaktorstudie, die wir im September 2013 veröffentlicht haben, zeigt, dass 76 Prozent unserer Gastgeber gelegentlich ihren Wohnraum, den sie selbst nutzen, teilen – und kein Gewerbe betreiben. Das Teilen von Wohnraum trägt dazu bei, dass mehr Menschen langfristig in ihrer Wohnung und ihrem Kiez bleiben können. Wir wissen, dass Airbnb keine Auswirkungen auf den verfügbaren Wohnraum hat. Es gibt 1,9 Millionen Wohneinheiten in Berlin und nur ca. 10.000 Inserate auf Airbnb.

Wir hoffen, dass die Bezirksämter die komplexen und weit gefassten neuen Regulierungen klären und so sicherstellen, dass die Airbnb-Community weiter wachsen kann. Wir werden in der Zwischenzeit die Entscheider weiterhin über die persönliche Gestaltungsmöglichkeiten und die ökonomischen Vorteile von Airbnb für unsere Gastgeber und die gesamte Stadt Berlin aufklären. Wir werden uns weiterhin für unsere Community aus Gastgebern und Gästen einsetzen und Euch auf dem Laufenden über die Diskussion in Berlin halten.

Statement on Hearing in New York

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.

New York and the Airbnb Community

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.

We’re pleased that so many cities like Amsterdam, Hamburg and Paris have embraced home-sharing and Shared City is our effort to do even more to make cities around the world even stronger.

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.


Update: Airbnb and the New York Attorney General

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.


David Hantman

Head of Global Public Policy


New York hotel lobbyists flip-flop on taxes

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.

Home-sharing legislation in San Francisco

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.
  • 56 percent of host income is spent on regular household expenses.
  • Over 75 percent of Airbnb hosts who rent their home in San Francisco said they use their Airbnb income to help pay their rent.
  • 82 percent of hosts who own their home in San Francisco use that income to help pay their mortgage or property taxes.
  • And nearly 180,000 visitors came to San Francisco and stayed with Airbnb hosts in 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.