July 31, 2016
Airbnb is suing the city of San Francisco, battling legislation in New York and fighting widespread allegations that some of its hosts discriminate against renters. Which might explain why it is trying to get ahead of such confrontations here, in a newly opened used bookstore in the gentrifying Washington neighborhood of Parkview. District resident Liz Furgurson, who uses the home-sharing site to rent out a room in her basement, is leading a group of 14 fellow hosts on a stroll through the neighborhood’s small businesses. The hope, she says, is to familiarize shop owners with Airbnb and to encourage hosts to recommend local businesses to visitors. “What’s the best way to send folks here?” Furgurson asks shop owner Pablo Sierra on a recent evening. This event, called a “merchant walk” and organized by Airbnb, feels like a casual neighborhood meet-and-greet. But its implications could be much larger for the San Francisco-based company, founded in 2008 and now reaching 2 million rental listings worldwide. The company hopes gatherings like these can help shore up support as it faces a number of regulatory measures, including one in the District. Legislation introduced in September by D.C. Council member Vincent B. Orange (D-At Large) and backed by a hotel workers’ union would limit hosts to one listing at a time and require hosts to live on-site during guests’ stays. Rental units would have to be inspected by the city, and hosts would have to notify neighbors of their rental plans….
The Washington Post – As regulatory attacks mount, Airbnb goes on a charm offensive
July 31, 2016