The Two Sides to airbnb

Rental sites like Airbnb aren’t as innocuous as they pretend

From the Los Angeles Times, July 19, 2015

So San Francisco, like Los Angeles, New York and some other cities, is offering to go easy on modest “sharing,” in return for the collection of lodging taxes and strict enforcement of the rules against turning housing into unlicensed hotels.

What we’re trying to stop is the phenomenon of people buying buildings and evicting tenants so they can rent to tourists for three to four times as much.- Dale Carlson, spokesman for Sharebetter SF 

The pushback from Airbnb suggests that there’s more to the phenomenon than a few families making a few bucks. Airbnb describes the influx of casual lodgers into residential neighborhoods as though it’s an unalloyed blessing. In an appeal this spring directed at small-business owners in San Francisco, the firm bragged that “72% of Airbnb properties are outside of traditional hotel districts, in neighborhoods that haven’t benefited from tourism in the past.” That’s a boon to businesses in those outlying districts, the firm implied.