Airbnb has been quietly delisting some property owners in New York and London. How could this affect your vacation rental property?An Airbnb delisting was the last thing Airbnb host William expected. For three years he has successfully rented out two small flats in a historic 1730 house he owns in the heart of London’s Soho district. In January he received an email from Airbnb delisting both rentals. ‘We really try to arrange the flat to give people a good experience’, a baffled William told BBC Business News. ‘We provide fresh flowers and breakfast for guests. We take a lot of trouble and we’ve had uniformly positive reviews over three years.’
Airbnb delisting successful ownersWilliam is one of an unknown number of successful Airbnb hosts in New York and London who have been summarily delisted by Airbnb in recent months. Critics believe that the Airbnb delisting behaviour is an attempt to placate local authorities over allegations and evidence that Airbnb was more than a community of people occasionally renting out their home, apartment or property to help make ends meet. Specifically, the critics believe that many owners run very successful businesses by renting out multiple properties through the site. While purporting to be a part of the ‘sharing community’ they avoid the regulations (and costs) associated with the traditional hospitality industry.
Locals claim they are priced out of homesIn New York especially, locals complain that prices for local apartments have risen to the point where they cannot afford homes there owing to demand for Airbnb rentals. Owners of multiple units are blamed for this. Airbnb defended its delisting activities by claiming that they ‘routinely carried out initiatives for quality purposes’ and that this goes on all over the world. The surprise Airbnb delistings are causing a lot of concern in industry internet forums. Typical is this from Peter, posting from London, UK, on a user forum: ‘I wonder if Airbnb is now moving to meet the authorities’ concerns and to delist what it believes are illegal listings? It would not surprise me if they have categorised those who are being delisted as breaking the regulations and are taking them down.’
Airbnb delisting in New YorkThe spark for the whole Airbnb delisting controversy seems to have been a seemingly innocuous report on the Fortune website on 1 December last year. It announced that ‘Airbnb would share data with New York City’ and referred to a statement published earlier by Airbnb on their website. In that statement, Airbnb typify their hosts as follows: ‘Our community in New York is made up of hard working families in all five boroughs who, during a time of economic inequality, depend on home sharing as an economic lifeline.’ They go on to quote recently gathered statistics which they claim show:
- 78% of Airbnb hosts in New York earn low, moderate, or middle incomes.
- 72% of Airbnb hosts in New York use the money they earn sharing their space to stay in their homes.
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