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Airbnb breaking the bank to kill Prop. F

October 22, 2015

By  : sfexaminer – excerpt

For a firm whose business was illegal for six out of seven years of its existence, Airbnb has matured briskly into the Caligula stage of imperial excess. Now we know how drug kingpins would behave if heroin were legalized.

Airbnb has invested $8 million to crush Proposition F this November to achieve two goals: Airbnb is terrified that Prop. F might pass, and Airbnb is spending to deter wimpier cities from contemplating regulations of Airbnb not written by Airbnb. Political operatives know Airbnb’s play by the term of art “laying your dick on the table.”

Airbnb’s mailers pitying beleaguered hosts who rely on homesharing income are as disingenuous as Wal-Mart claiming they couldn’t raise wages because of pensioners. Never mind that vacation rentals transfer 4,500 housing units to tourists, which drives up rents which forces hosts to rent spare rooms to stay afloat. Never mind that Airbnb profits from our precariousness. Never mind that no one has ever said, “You know what my neighborhood needs? More tourists!” Never mind that the same politicians bemoaning the inadequate supply of new housing simultaneously support the removal of more than 4,500 housing units that could be rented instantly. (Funny how supply and demand is obvious Econ 101 until Ron Conway starts writing campaign checks.) Never mind that all my fellow comedians who stayed in a “hosted” Airbnb on the road agree that it’s creepy and weird — and we know from creepy…

Airbnb’s campaign against a private right of action represents an admission that their business relies on illegality. Because Airbnb does not share liability, they profit from a deluge of unregistered, unchecked rentals. A private right of action would bring them into compliance with existing regulations, but Airbnb knows that obeying the law costs more than ignoring it, which current law abets.
Airbnb isn’t afraid that Prop. F will lead to lawsuits that are frivolous but to ones that are not… (more)

Their fear is based on the fact that not many people actually benefit from Airbnb who will be voting. On the other hand, many renters are incensed over the high rents and blame Airbnb for taking rental units off the market. There is also some added protection for landlords who don’t want tenants subletting without permission.

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