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Nov 11, 2015

The Airbnb Community Compact

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Home sharing has long existed as a right. For many years, everyday people visiting a city have sought out home sharing as a way to have an authentic experience, visit a vacation market or explore a non-traditional destination. Airbnb was founded during the Great Recession and has become an economic lifeline for middle class families around the world.

Our founders have established a clear set of core principles that guide Airbnb’s policy efforts when it comes to developing partnerships with cities that embrace the right of people to share their homes. As our community continues to grow, we’ve heard from scores of civic leaders, hosts and guests who want to know more about how we specifically translate those core principles into partnerships with communities and craft fair, progressive rules for home sharing. In recent years, informed by our principles, we have established close working relationships with policymakers and created strong policies that protect communities and embrace home sharing in cities from Amsterdam, to Philadelphia, London to Jersey City, Paris to San Jose. Just last week, home sharing was on the ballot for the first time in San Francisco, California, and Boulder, Colorado, and the people spoke decisively in favor of Airbnb and the right to share your home.

Community leaders are supporting home sharing because it helps ordinary people take what is typically one of their greatest expenses – the cost of their housing – and turn it into a way to generate supplemental income.  Airbnb allows the typical middle-income host in the United States to generate the equivalent of a 14% annual raise in a time where economic inequality is a major challenge.  Hosts control when and how to share their homes – and hosts make 97% of the price they charge for their listing. The fact that Airbnb is expanding the economic pie for ordinary people at a time of rising economic inequality is why hosts are so engaged and excited about the right to share their home.

But we know we have more work to do.

We are 100 percent committed to being constructive partners with regulatory agencies and policymakers. Our community wants to pay their fair share.  We want home sharing to help people stay in their homes. We also want communities to understand more about who we are and how we approach important public policy issues, including issues like illegal hotels. 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.

To help meet these goals, we’re releasing the Airbnb Community Compact. The compact is based on our core principles and informed by the lessons we’ve learned about how best to partner with governments.  At the heart of this Compact are three commitments with specific actions we’re taking to help ensure home sharing continues to make communities stronger. The highlights include:

Treat Every City Personally and Help Ensure Our Community Pays its Fair Share of Hotel and Tourist Taxes

We will partner with individual cities to address their policy needs, and work with cities to help ensure the efficient collection of tourist and hotel taxes.

Build an Open and Transparent Community

We will both protect our hosts’ and guests’ privacy and provide cities the anonymized information they need to make informed decisions about home sharing policies in their communities.  We will consult with consumer privacy experts and our hosts before this kind of information is released to ensure our hosts’ and guests’ privacy is protected. We will also release regular economic activity reports in key markets. To kick things off, we are sharing recent estimates of the annual economic impact of the Airbnb community in some of our most active cities:

New York City

$1.960 billion

London

$1.950 billion

Los Angeles

$890 million

Berlin

$510 million

San Francisco

$510 million

Going forward, we will release these and other metrics at least once a year for at least 50 key markets around the world.

Promote Responsible Home Sharing To Make Cities Stronger

In cities that have not established rules for home sharing, and where housing prices and availability are a critical issue, we will work with our community to help prevent short-term rentals from impacting the availability and cost of permanent housing for city residents. We will educate our hosts and work to help ensure they agree to a policy of listing only properties that are permanent homes on a short-term basis.  We will also continue to work with cities that have established home sharing policies on these matters. Our community has demonstrated that it can self-regulate.  And per our commitment to being open and transparent, the information released will provide a way to show that our community is doing right by the cities where they are sharing their homes.

This Compact won’t limit the work we will do with cities and community leaders — it’s a floor, not a ceiling — and we are eager to engage even more with civic leaders. We know different communities have different needs and our core principles will always push us to do right by the cities our hosts call home and our guests seek to visit.

The Airbnb community is engaged, active and present in communities.  More than 60 million guests have spent the night in an Airbnb listing.  Airbnb listings can be found in 34,000 communities and more than 190 countries. Tomorrow there will be more people sharing their homes than there are today – and more the day after that.  Home sharing is both a community and a movement.  And we want to do right by the cities our hosts call home and our guests visit.

As home sharing continues to evolve, we are all learning the best ways to support the right of people to share their homes, including the best ways hosts and guests can be good neighbors.  This is a learning experience for all and while we will not always be perfect, we have learned a lot since our founding in 2008 and are all committed to doing our best to be good neighbors. We have seen how home sharing helps everyday families pay the bills and pursue their dreams and we are looking forward to doing even more to ensure home sharing makes communities better places to live, work and visit.

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