Airbnb’s success at the ballot for Proposition F in the city of San Francisco may be a victory celebrated too early. As landowners and housing activists keep trying to bring down websites like Airbnb, believing that this service which started turning apartments and houses into hotel rooms is responsible for displacing residents as homeowners.
What is Proposition F?
The proposition would have restricted private rentals in San Francisco to 75 nights a year and also imposed regulations to the effect that such private rentals paid hotel taxes and followed the code of the city for rentals. The private rentals would also have to keep guest records and provide timely reports on the revenue. The initiative was targeted at websites like Airbnb that provide rental listings throughout the world. The proposal’s success would have meant that websites that have non-compliant posts would be fined $250 to $1000 per day for each illegal listing.
Airbnb and Proposition F
Imposition of the proposition would be millions of dollars in fines for Airbnb unless the website finds a way to ensure compliance for every listing. Airbnb left no stone unturned in its attempts to withhold proposition F. The website took to door-to-door campaigning, thought-provoking billboards and window signs and over 200,000 phone calls to spread awareness about Proposition F and turn the crowd in favour of Airbnb.
Airbnb spent over $8 million to stand victorious with regards to the proposition. With the rising rentals and real estate prices reaching for the sky, Airbnb’s success is supposed to be influenced by the ever-changing demographic in San Francisco where many residents find private rentals as an easy way to make money.
While Airbnb has won the ballot in San Francisco, the company is expecting similar reactions in other cities as well. So while the triumph over Proposition F calls for celebration, the company is also gearing up for upheavals across other cities.