Airbnb Banning Multi-Listing Hosts in SF & NY

14 Replies

Has anyone read this article that is currently hosting multiple units on Airbnb in either San Francisco or New York City? Even LA or the greater Los Angeles area as it might happen there next.

http://sf.curbed.com/2016/10/19/13331802/airbnb-pu...

I'm interested to see how this will affect hosts who depend on Airbnb to drive traffic to their multiple listings.

@Ariel Vincent

I did see this. Right now it is just proposed and its for the site to police itself (at least in NY). My assumption is that hosts will find ways around it for now and the site has very little incentive to really catch people doing that. However, at some point you do run out of freinds, relatives etc. and that will be interesting to watch. 

@Charles Worth Yes, that's what I was thinking too. I figure hosts will be able to create additional accounts as workarounds or have "shell" listings but that would still limit their reach. Also, they will lose their valuable reviews if they are forced to create new profiles and start over. 

I'm really interested to see how this plays out in my market in SF. I know a lot of people that have 15+ listings operating through Airbnb so having an account for each listing isn't feasible. I suspect some of those landlords who aren't already listing with services like Homesuite, will move there as a way to supplement lost business.

For anyone interested in the history of this issue, pick up "How The Other Half Lives" by Jacob Riis at the library.  In summary, it's a pictorial documentary of New York City slums in the late 19th century.  At the heart of the issue was the phenomenon of people turning tenement housing into penny-rent 'hotels' that promoted urban blight and extreme poverty.

This book prompted bans on short-term subletting in New York and copied by other densely populated cities like San Francisco; these laws are the basis for the illegality of Airbnb and other similar websites.  

There are obvious differences between then and now.  In the 19th century, such arrangements were beacons for vagrancy.  Today, crummy rooms offered on the internet will never rent out in a competitive marketplace.

IMO,  STRs are a poor business model in the first place due to the high turnover and exposure to excessive vacancies.  

Then having one in a residential area of any city is crazy and bound to cause issues with city licensing and street parking.

Owning my own home, I wouldn't care to have my nehighbor with an active STR - - would you? It's called NIMBY.

AirBnB isn't the only furnished rental marketing platform out there...

@Charles Worth I agree with you. I wonder how much Air BNB will dig into people that have multiple properties on their platform. I highly doubt they remove listings from people that more than one property associated with Air BNB by X date. 

It will be interesting to see how landlords operate their business as they go through this transition with Air bnb. Homesuite and VRBO seem like the most like options @Ariel Vincent

@Michael Medinger I'll have to check that out!

@Jeff B. Absolutely. HomeSuite (30 day minimums), VRBO, HomeAway, FlipKey are all options, but the fact is that in SF Airbnb drives the most demand for landlords. I think this will be a huge hit on their marketing.

@Ariel Vincent ,

Fair point. Someone could hypothetically use their cap of 1 for whatever their most expensive one is, and use the others for the rest. Once word gets out that the alternatives are a little more cost effective, traffic will follow, prices will go right back up, but the alternatives will still have that reputation for being more cost effective, and so on.

@Chris Mason yeah maybe their most expensive one or even the one that gets the most traffic. I imagine a lot will manipulate their calendars to get inquiries then pivot them to their open properties. I've already seen landlords doing this through Airbnb to move off of the platform and undercut the fees. 

Originally posted by @Ariel Vincent :

@Charles Worth Yes, that's what I was thinking too. I figure hosts will be able to create additional accounts as workarounds or have "shell" listings but that would still limit their reach. Also, they will lose their valuable reviews if they are forced to create new profiles and start over. 

I'm really interested to see how this plays out in my market in SF. I know a lot of people that have 15+ listings operating through Airbnb so having an account for each listing isn't feasible. I suspect some of those landlords who aren't already listing with services like Homesuite, will move there as a way to supplement lost business.

You work for Homesuite, right? Would probably be important to disclose that when making statements like this. 

@Jake Knight yes, I do. However, this post was for personal reasons as I'm looking to get into the furnished rental market myself. I'm not trying to solicit anyone nor do I make commission off of landlords joining. I recently posted that I worked there and was flagged, so avoided it this time.

I get to see firsthand how different landlords run their business and I know many in my network rely on Airbnb as their main source of revenue (or at least filling gaps if they do more long-term) so I see this having huge affects over time.

All good. Wasn't trying to be a jerk, just seemed a good idea to mention you represent one of the companies in your discussion. 

FYI ALL: Today AirBnB filed suit against NYC; see google

It is an interesting dynamic to see play out first hand in San Francisco. In general it doesn't seem like neighbors of airbnbs are putting up much of a fuss except in the sleepier neighborhoods. Hotels are at 85% occupancy and it is difficult to get permits to build more. It is really the city's renters that are seeing skyrocketing rents and the politicians looking for a convenient scapegoat. SF has under-built for 40 years otherwise airbnb would not be able to command such a premium over long term tenants. 

I think airbnb will remove multiple listings because they are in a PR battle for hearts and minds. It is pretty easy for watchdogs to see multiple listings from one account but as others have mentioned they can always add accounts with friend's and family members and airbnb has little incentive to stop this.

Currently in SF if you do not live in the place while people are staying there you are capped at 90 day per calendar year. Or as I have done you rent for 30 day minimums. I have mine on airbnb and home suite and have had more bookings through airbnb but also gotten some good tenants from homesuite

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