Opinion: It’s time for Airbnb’s free ride to end
Los Angeles Times
July 2, 2016
To the editor: One can only hope that Airbnb is unsuccessful in its suit against the City of San Francisco. (Re “Airbnb sues San Francisco,” Business, June 29 and “Airbnb says it’s not liable for users’ posts,” Business, June 30)
As sharing platforms have morphed from methods for part-time entrepreneurs to supplement their incomes to platforms where full-time, investor-owned vacation rentals are the majority of listings, these Internet-based companies have an obligation to ensure that their listings comply with applicable laws and regulations.
Non-hosted properties are nothing more than de facto hotels, and need to be regulated as such. This includes ensuring that they comply with all fire and safety regulations, along with available parking and ADA compliance.
The short-term rental business has gotten a “free ride” up to now. It is time that government agencies begin dealing with Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO as businesses operating in an unregulated environment that is destroying many residential neighborhoods.
Gary Tereshkow, Palm Springs
To the editor: I read with disappointment the story that Airbnb was suing the City of San Francisco regarding compliance with short-term rental regulations.
The community group I co-founded, Keep Neighborhoods First, strongly believes Airbnb’s lawsuit lacks merit. But that is for the courts to decide.
What is clear is that Airbnb continues to shirk its responsibility to the communities in which it profits and is now prepared to abandon its hosts — the very people that Airbnb profits from — and let them fend for themselves. Sadly, Airbnb wants to share in profits, but not in responsibility.
It is disappointing that the company is choosing to sue instead of cooperating with cities to ensure that it is not facilitating illegal rentals.
Judith Goldman, Los Angeles