It’s been a good couple weeks for share economy startups fighting regulatory and legal challenges to their business models. First the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) sided with ride sharing startups Lyft, Sidecar, and Uber in a ruling that effectively legitimizes ride sharing in California by laying out regulations to govern it.
And now Airbnb has won an incremental victory in New York City after an Airbnb host was fined for renting out a room in his apartment. Airbnb’s policy director David Hantman took to the company blog to herald the decision by the New York City Environmental Control Board to overturn the fine. The reversal was caused by a statute which does allow New Yorkers to rent out a room in their apartment, provided the host is present during the stay.
I’d be curious to know how many Airbnb hosts are actually present during the rental. It seems that a hefty number are not present and that in major cities landlords with multiple apartments are renting them out for short term stays. But it’s still a victory for Airbnb and confirms my suspicion that the longer share economy business models proliferate and find consumer traction, the harder it will be to shut them down.