Skip to comments.Brian Chesky: The 'Sharing Economy' and Its Enemies
Posted on 01/19/2014 5:38:58 PM PST by Lorianne
San Francisco's Radius Cafe is one of those places where "local" is the ruleall the food is sourced within a 100-mile radius of the restaurant. So it's a touch ironic to meet there with Brian Chesky, the hoodie-wearing 32-year-old co-founder of Airbnb, whose game plan is global.
Airbnb is a Web service that lets travelers book couches, beds, rooms, houses, boats and even castles on a nightly basis. In six years Airbnb has become a company valued at $2.5 billion, with 500,000 properties available in more than 190 countriesa stand out in what is often called the sharing economy. Airbnb could do to hotels what Amazon has done to bricks-and-mortar bookstores. By year's end, Airbnb says it will have booked more overnight stays than the Hilton and InterContinental hotel chains.
As might be expected, hoteliers and hospitality-industry regulators are suspicious of the Airbnb model. In October, New York state sued the company for violating a law passed in 2010just when Airbnb was picking up steambarring private citizens from renting an entire apartment for less than 30 days.
"I want to challenge the status quo, but in a way that's constructive," Mr. Chesky says. "There were laws created for businesses, and there were laws for people. What the sharing economy did was create a third category: people as businesses. . . . They don't know whether to bucket our activity as person or a business."
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Hotel occupancy taxes are really high, because they are designed to suck money from visitors who don’t vote for the local govt and can’t retaliate.
Trying to bypass those is a problem and will get this guy put out of business.
You can resell a book, but trying to sublet a hotel room is going to be harder.
“New York state sued the company for violating a law passed in 2010just when Airbnb was picking up steambarring private citizens from renting an entire apartment for less than 30 days.”
You know why this is? Because after 30 days, NYS law says you have given the person domicile and if they don’t want to leave you have to start formal eviction proceedings where it can cost you thousands in legal bills.
The market is revolting against government intrusion in our lives. Soon the government won’t have enough fingers to plug the dam from bursting against state control of everything. It’s anathema to our way of life.
Another issue to consider is that many apartment leases either prohibit the tenant from sub-leasing to another occupant or require the rental income to be shared with the landlord. If this company was listing properties in my apartment complex, the tenants would probably end up thrown out on the street.
I suspect this whole business model is going to unravel the first time one of these Airbnb "guests" is charged with a violent crime against one of the host's neighbors, and all parties involved are sued into bankruptcy.
From what I read, these are largely apartments, and other private residences.
This is also strictly prohibited in nearly all co-ops. The Board will come down hard on unapproved sublets.
Of course, people do it anyway...
I could imagine landlords renting out whole buildings on AirBNB, filling in rooms with people who are visiting, or couch surfers who move 13+ times a year because there are no apartments officially open for tenants.
I wonder if someone could live through a post office box and a series of AirBNB bookings for a year in NYS. Or even do it cheaper than renting.
How does one start a website big enough to handle something like this? It has to take some big bucks and at least one smart nerd.
Think I saw that deal on Stossel. It was a young women with a daughter living with this older guy who owned the house. They had access to the kitchen, fridge, virtually everything in the house.
Kinda gave me the creeps a bit. I dunno. I could see the liabilities and hey who knows who these people are on both sides. They did say there are heavy reviews on social media to help.