Airbnb group to push against changes in laws

Over 100 Airbnb hosts to join ‘homesharing club’ in Dublin

Airbnb homesharing group have been springing up in many cities. Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images

Airbnb homesharing group have been springing up in many cities. Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images

 

More than 100 Airbnb hosts will meet in Dublin on Wednesday to establish a “homesharing club”. While independent of Airbnb, the room-rental website founded in 2008, the company invited the individual hosts and have helped plan the meeting.

Last year the company announced plans to create homesharing clubs in cities around the world. The aim, was to form “a powerful people-to-people based political advocacy bloc”, according to the company.

Clubs have been formed in many US cities, Canada, Australia, Asia, South America and in several cities across Europe, including London.

The groups will play a lobbying role in the push against changes in laws and are being viewed as part of a fightback by Airbnb after several cities passed laws making it increasingly difficult to operate as a host.

Last month, An Bord Pleanála upheld a planning decision that a two-bed property in Dublin’s Temple Bar had undergone a material change of use due to its Airbnb activity and was not exempt from planning regulations.

The ruling is could have implications for the company’s business in Ireland.

Last year, London introduced a rule under which planning permission is required to rent out a property for more than three months a year.

New York city council has been fighting a long campaign against the company and last week introduced legislation that will heavily fine anyone trying to offer rooms to let for less than 30 days. Listing a short-term letting will attract fines from $1,000.

The hotel lobby has pushed hard for the changes in the city where new hotels are springing up after a long hiatus and average three-star hotel rates are $253 per night.

Berlin brought in a law where people renting apartments must be registered or face a fine of up to €100,000. Neighbourhoods in Barcelona are lobbying the city council to get rid of homesharing. In San Francisco, the city council brought in “a one host, one home” policy and Airbnb has removed some multiple listings from its site.

The chairman of the Dublin homeshare group, Malachy Quinn, said “the meeting is fully subscribed and we are expecting over 100 hosts to attend. The aim of the club is to be a forum and an opportunity for hosts to discuss issues as they arise. It will also provide an educational, representative and social element to support each other,” he said.

On Friday, in Monaghan, the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys will launch Airbnb’s first report on homesharing outside the capital. Focusing on regional and rural Ireland, the report will highlight the economic, social and environmental impact on rural communities.