October 9, 2016
Airbnb’s highly publicized purges of suspected illegal hotel listings are a ploy to placate regulators and have done nothing to alleviate the city’s serious housing crisis, elected officials, housing groups and hundreds of tenants charge in a letter to the company.
The letter, sent Friday to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, raps the company for not sharing the nixed listings with law enforcement and regulators.
“One can only conclude that your lack of cooperation . . . is nothing more than a craven attempt by your company to generate sky-high profits at the expense of our precious affordable housing,” the letter from the Share Better coalition of pols and the New York Hotel Trades Council states.
Airbnb — a global phenomenon valued at $30 billion — has struggled in New York with city and state regulators, with the major point of contention being the company’s reluctance to share its user data.
Critics charge that the site is a platform for illegal hotel operators, including greedy landlords who use rent-regulated units as hotel rooms rather than residences for New Yorkers, which worsens the city’s affordability crisis.
The company, when reached for comment, dismissed Share Better as a “front group for the big hotels.”
“We have removed thousands of bad listings from Airbnb, regularly release data about our community in New York and are committed to making New York more affordable,” Airbnb said in a statement.