November 12, 2016
Airbnb’s new policy limiting New York City hosts to just one listing — a bid to put an end to illegal hotel operators using the site — isn’t stopping Big Apple users from advertising multiple units, according to a new analysis.
One New York City host, “Johnny,” had 40 listings and another who went by the handle “STAT” had 36, according to Share Better, an anti-Airbnb coalition that includes politicians and the hotel industry.
Share Better found 25 top Airbnb hosts who controlled 385 listings, according to the analysis.
The $30 billion company, which has run into headaches with regulators as it tries to expand in New York, last month announced in the Daily News that it would limit New York hosts to one listing.
Multiple listings are often a sign of illegal hotels.
An Airbnb spokesman said the one listing-per-host policy refers only to whole apartment rentals — which are illegal in many cases under the state’s hotel occupancy law — and that many of the listings in the analysis are for hosts offering multiple private room listings, which isn’t prohibited.
The company said it would look into whether the listings seemed to be illegal hotels — but blasted Share Better for maligning what Airbnb insists are good faith efforts to scrub the site of bad actors.
“This group continues to scrape for crumbs to cobble together a weak and misleading case, pointing to less than 1% of listings to make a cynical argument against home sharing all together,” Airbnb said in a statement.
Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, an Airbnb critic who sponsored the new law fining users who post listings on the site that violate the hotel occupancy law, said the analysis shows why the company needs to hand over its data to regulators.
“This is exactly why we can’t trust Airbnb to police their own website,” she said.