Big Tech Short-Term Rental Platforms, like Airbnb, Cause Problems Nationwide
Despite Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky’s claim that the company wants to “limit hosts to one home,” commercial Airbnb operators are gobbling affordable housing in major cities, forcing long-term residents out of their neighborhoods and pushing up the price to rent or own a home.
From New York to D.C. to Los Angeles, commercial operators are removing long-term housing options – and the effect is dire. In New York alone, rent pressure created from Airbnbs cost residents more than $616 million in 2016 – and in 2018, Airbnbs had increased to 13,500 units in the city, pushing rent even higher.
Gunshots, prostitution, drugs and out-of-control parties fracture the fabric of our communities and threaten neighborhoods’ safety across the U.S. As commercial investors buy up residential homes in neighborhoods to convert into short-term rentals, major safety concerns have emerged.
Short-term rentals like Airbnbs have become hotbeds of illegal activity, including:
Airbnb promises to do better – but horror stories continue to flood in.
While Airbnb loves to claim otherwise, the short-term rental giant is responsible for price gouging around major events across the nation, from the Super Bowl to the Boston Marathon to music festivals and comic conventions. Airbnb prices regularly surge by thousands of dollars each night, costing travelers exorbitant fees while disrupting communities and taking housing stock off the market for long-term residents.
Airbnb has been strong-arming state and local governments into accepting “voluntary” tax agreements – giving Airbnb special tax treatment not offered to any other business in the U.S.
Some examples of Airbnb’s special treatment under these “agreements” include:
- Airbnb’s voluntary tax agreements (VCA) are negotiated behind closed doors without public input – including public records requests – meaning taxpayers and government agencies have no idea if Airbnb is paying the correct amount of taxes.
- Airbnb dictates that any government audit must be done using anonymized user data – making it impossible to verify those collecting and remitting taxes.
- Airbnb prevents state and local tax agencies from sharing any data with other government agencies, such as those for enforcing regulations or other statutes related to short-term rentals, such as identifying illegal commercial operators.
- Airbnb limits the amount and type of data that must be submitted to jurisdictions, meaning the information the company submits is not sufficient enough to ensure Airbnb is collecting applicable taxes.
- Airbnb’s deals force states and cities to forgive legally-owed taxes from prior years.