Last week, Airbnb removed 2,233 New York based listings from its site in its latest attempt to appease New York City legislators. Airbnb has been in the news recently for fighting legal battles in its hometown of San Francisco, and New York is another major listings city for the company.
Since the 2,233 properties they removed are only about five percent of Airbnb’s total NYC listings, it’s unlikely that this has move will have any significant impact on the company’s presence in the city. The removed properties were part of multiple listings under the same host, which is part of the legality in question with Airbnb.
New York and San Francisco officials say the company is contributing to overcrowding. When tourists rent empty Airbnb apartments, those properties aren’t rented or sold. So taking housing off the market isn’t helping housing shortages.
Airbnb has voluntarily taken properties off their site in the past. Last November 1,500 properties in NYC were dashed for the same reasons. City officials are also concerned about Airbnb’s role in increasing home and rental prices, its threat to the hotel industry, and listings that could be considered illegal as unregulated hotels slip through the cracks.
While the company could be seen as limiting the housing market supply to some degree, many New Yorkers rely on renting out their home or apartment when it’s unoccupied as a source of income. According to Airbnb, the median annual earning for NYC based hosts is $5,474. As of June 2016 there were 41,373 listings in New York. While that’s only a sliver of the NYC population, it’s still over 40,000 people relying on the shared economy platform.
Airbnb’s goal in the removal of these listings is to appease NY Governor Andrew Cuomo who is currently deciding whether to sign legislation making multiple listings illegal in the state.
Walking the fine line of the peer-to-peer travel industry is no easy feat.
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