Tags: cities | hotels | fight | airbnb | voters | push back

As Cities and Hotel Industry Struggle to Curb Airbnb, Voters Are Pushing Back

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Monday, 15 October 2018 09:36 PM

The rapid growth of short-term rentals nationwide has pushed local governments, with the help of the hotel industry, to try to rein in the practice — but some rental firms and property owners are fighting the threat to the lucrative enterprise.

The Washington Post reported that in June, voters in Palm Springs, Calif., approved a ballot measure overturning limits on short-term rentals, and some state governments, including in Arizona and Tennessee, have intervened to protect Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO and other online platforms hosts, the Post reported.

Still, in Washington, a D.C. Council vote Tuesday is expected to approve some of the toughest restrictions in the country, banning short-term rentals of a second home, and Airbnb warned it may try to put the issue directly to voters with a ballot initiative in 2020 if the current version passes,.

“The real story over the last year or year and a half seems to be the hotel industry waking up to the fact that Airbnb poses a much bigger threat to their business than they originally imagined,” Arun Sundararajan, a business professor at New York University, told the Post.

Even new regulations aren’t slowing down growth, the Post reported; short-term rentals grew by 82 percent from 2012 to 2017, from 45.6 billion to 82.9 billion globally. In the same period, hotel room reservations increased 27 percent, from 404.2 billion to 512.3 billion.

Despite the battle over regulation, some common ground exists, particularly over bans on multiple listings, the Post reported.

The bigger challenge has been whether to allow short-term rentals of second homes. Phoenix and Seattle say yes, while New York and San Francisco have mostly banned the practice, the Post reported.

The question is a big one in San Diego, Calif., where the city council in July passed a law to ban short-term rentals of a second home through online platforms.

“As written, it would pretty much put us out of business,” Blaine Smith, owner a company managing 150 vacation homes, all but two or three of which are second homes, told the Post. “We have such a rich history of tourism and vacation rentals. It’s just crazy what happened here.”

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The rapid growth of short-term rentals nationwide has pushed local governments, with the help of the hotel industry, to try to rein in the practice - but some rental firms and property owners are fighting the threat to the lucrative enterprise.The Washington Post reported...
cities, hotels, fight, airbnb, voters, push back
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2018-36-15
Monday, 15 October 2018 09:36 PM
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