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Airbnb to clamp down on ‘illegal hotels’

Airbnb has announced that it is to impose tougher rules aimed at preventing users from effectively running unregulated hotel businesses through the platform.

Writing in a blog post on the firm’s website, Brian Chesky, CEO and co-founder, also said his firm is taking steps to ensure it pays its fair share of hotel and tourist taxes in each of the cities in which it operates.

He wrote: “We are proud of almost all of the activity that happens on our platform every day. But it’s become clear that we need to clarify what we will and will not tolerate in our community.”

The company has come under fire recently with allegations that some users are “professional landlords” listing multiple properties on the site.

Recent analysis from STR Global found that with 11,000 Airbnb “competitive” listings in London compared with some 134,000 hotel rooms the private room-rental service has roughly an 8% share of the market.

A statement from the company said: “We strongly oppose large-scale speculators who turn dozens of apartments into illegal hotel rooms. Illegal hotels are not in the interests of our guests, our hosts, our company, or the cities where Airbnb hosts share their space.”

Chesky admitted it would take time to implement the regulations, as the company goes from city to city working with each government.

The blog comes after the company released its Community Compact, made up of three commitments.

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The commitments:

  1. We are committed to treating every city personally and helping ensure our community pays its fair share of hotel and tourist taxes.
  2. We are committed to being transparent with our data and information and we will help cities understand the home sharing activity in their community while simultaneously honoring our commitment to protect our hosts’ and guests’ privacy.
  3. In cities where there is a shortage of long-term housing, we are committed to working with our community to prevent short-term rentals from impacting the availability of long term housing by ensuring hosts agree to a policy of listing only  permanent homes on a short-term basis.

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