Issues and stories in the news
An Airbnb mini-Marriott hotel chain? One investor has 1,083 Airbnb listings
The portrait that Airbnb paints of its hosts is homeowners who either want to occasionally rent out unused rooms, or people who just happen to have amazing weekend homes that they want to share with random strangers. That may be true for some Airbnb hosts, but there’s also a growing concern about so-called “mega hosts” who are effectively running hotel operations, renting out dozens, hundreds, sometimes more than 1,000, properties at any given time. Worldwide revenue for Airbnb for these "mega hosts" - including one with 1,083 listings - runs into the billions.
Suffering from an employee housing shortage, Whistler bans STVR
The popular ski resort of Whistler is meeting head-on an issue that has become a problem for many ski areas - a lack of employee housing and available seasonal rentals because of widespread conversions to short-term vacation rentals. Early this season, for example, Mammoth Mountain had to let go of 40 lift operations employees it had hired because there was no employee housing available due to the proliferation of units converted to STVR in Mammoth Lakes' multi-zoned residential areas.
Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden says Whistler wants to preserve its rental stock for people that need and want to live in Whistler, including employees who are being thrown out of residential housing."We don't want our employees shoved out the back door, so that tourists can now rent those units on a nightly basis," said Wilhelm-Morden. "That's not the model that works for us."
Home-sharing? Not really. San Francisco, Los Angeles battle investor STVR operators
In tight housing markets such as San Francisco or Los Angeles, the expansion of short-term rentals has been shown in surveys to reduce the availability of long-term rental units. In San Francisco, accusations that landlords are evicting tenants have become commonplace. Many of these are a result of investors who are contributing more than 80% of the revenue generated for Airbnb in some cities - while at the same time removing housing stock for residents.
"What we're trying to stop is the phenomenon of people buying buildings and evicting tenants so they can rent to tourists for three to four times as much," says Dale Carlson, a spokesman for Sharebetter SF.
Short-term vacation rentals hitting housing shortage hard in Los Angeles
Supporters of vacation rentals argue that the number of housing units converted to STVR and taken out of housing is small and has a minimal effect. That may have been true years ago, but it may not apply anymore.
In Los Angeles, STRs are having a dangerous effect on housing stock. In L.A., a city desperate for more affordable housing, 11 units of long-term rental housing are being lost daily to STR conversions, according to a report from the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy.
A sign of the times in Barcelona, Spain. Concerns about the destruction of neighborhoods by vacation rentals replacing neighbors with tourists are hardly limited to San Diego.
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