Airbnb and Barcelona agree to work together on ‘bad actors’

18th July 2017 Jonathan Andrews

Airbnb and Barcelona City Hall have said they will work together to tackle ‘bad actors’ in the city, and to provide legal certainty to hosts renting out rooms.

The news comes after a meeting was held last week between the two, where Airbnb shared stories from 532 local hosts who rely on sharing their home to boost their income, with up to a quarter saying that this has helped them avoid eviction or foreclosure.

“We believe there is a big difference between someone occasionally sharing their home and a professional operator running a business,” Patrick Robinson, Director of Public Policy, Airbnb, told Cities Today.

Robinson said that unlike other cities, Barcelona doesn’t have rules for local families who share their homes, meaning that other rules have been applied which were written before Airbnb was invented.

“Ultimately, [working together] requires a clear and simple definition of home sharing in Barcelona,” he added. “Then we can work on progressive measures to protect and support these families, while removing illegal commercial operators in the city.”

The home-sharing platform said in a statement that it has already removed 1,300 listings in Barcelona by ‘bad actors’ and will continue to remove illegal operators brought to its attention by city hall.

The agreement with Barcelona follows similar bespoke agreements with Paris, London, Amsterdam and New Orleans. In the Louisiana capital an agreement was reached between Airbnb and the city government whereby hosts need to register with the city and are automatically prevented from renting out their homes for more than 120 days a year.

Airbnb offered to introduce automated hosting limits in Paris–similar to those already in place in London and Amsterdam–that would prevent people from sharing their homes for more than 120 nights.

“Paris preferred to introduce a registration system and while we accept their decision and will inform hosts about the change, we are concerned about the costs and bureaucracy involved,” added Robinson. “We felt there were more effective and sustainable solutions available.”

To help cities draft and amend rules for home sharing, Airbnb released last year the Policy Tool Chest, which has been updated to reflect new agreements and experiences with other cities.

While Robinson could not be specific, he did say that the company is working with 100 governments in Europe alone to better and clearly define the rules on home sharing.

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