After a major, and occasionally messy, campaign to stop a San Francisco proposition that would have placed limits on short-term rentals, Airbnb says it will start making some voluntary changes to its operations.
In a new "Community Compact," the company vows to, in some places, "prevent short-term rentals from impacting the availability of long-term rental housing" by making hosts agree to only list homes that are permanently owned, and to rent them out only on a short-term basis. Airbnb says it will put the policy into effect for some "cities that have a significant number of Airbnb listings but do not have a comprehensive policy approach to home sharing," and where long-term rental housing availability is a problem, but the company does not specify any particular cities or places.
As part of the new policy, Airbnb also says it will now work to "ensure our community pays its fair share of hotel and tourist taxes," which has become sticking point for operation of the service in some cities, including New York. The company also says it will begin offering cities more data on how the service is affecting communities, including anonymized information on listings. That, too, has become a major issue in the debate over how best to regulate services like Airbnb. In 2013, the attorney general of New York went so far as to subpoena Airbnb for data on renters, which the company fought against releasing.