Airbnb triumphs over move to limit its rentals

Voters in San Francisco have rejected a bill that would have drastically reduced the number of homes listed on Airbnb, after the startup spent more than $US8 million on campaigning against it.


Proposition F, a bill to curb short-term rentals to 75 days a year, was voted down by 55-45%.


It also proposed to increase enforcement and penalties, and create big payoffs for neighbours that sued those that violated the new conditions.


The proposition was backed by a group of housing activists, landlords and hotel workers’ unions who said the city’s regulations surrounding Airbnb were “toothless”, as the San Francisco Chronicle reports.


Airbnb allocated huge resources and time to the campaign fighting the proposition, spending more than $US8 million compared to the less than half a million that Proposition F supporters chipped in.


The startup’s campaign saw television and billboard ads that proclaimed the new measures would encourage people to spy on and sue their neighbours, and would be in violation of privacy.


“Voters stood up for working families’ right to share their homes and opposed an extreme, hotel industry-backed measure,” an Airbnb statement says.


“The effort showed that home sharing is both a community and movement.”


But it’s just the start of the fight for Airbnb, with many activists around the world looking to launch similar campaigns to place regulations and restrictions on sharing economy services.


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