December 29, 2016
Airbnb has tried to cultivate a good guy image. Over the past year it has poured resources into grassroots initiatives, setting up more than 100 Airbnb clubs for hosts and guests globally, in the hope these will grow into a political force to shape local regulation in its favour. However, the regulatory setbacks have come thick and fast. In October, New York passed a law that imposes heavy fines on short-term apartment rentals. Airbnb sued the state in response, arguing that the law was unconstitutional, but settled the lawsuit in December. From Berlin to Barcelona to San Francisco, Airbnb has increasingly faced sanctions and restrictions on who can let their home and how often. In response, the company has started to adjust its model in major markets, a tacit acknowledgment that it has too much to lose from doing battle with regulators….