Biz Break: Airbnb in more cities’ sights as rental concerns grow

Top Of The Order:  

Like A Good Neighbor?: San Francisco-based Airbnb has had its share of controversies in its young life as a darling in the online vacation-rental industry. There have been bodies found in the gardens of Airbnb rentals in Paris; listings from commercial landlords in New York that the company removed, but popped up again in almost no time; charges of racism against hosts; and complaints from neighbors about noisy Airbnb customers that have led the company to implement methods for people to report such inconsiderate behavior to the company.

Now, add to that concerns that Airbnb is getting so popular that the company is contributing to the shortage of affordable rental housing in cities around the country.

The situation has, apparently, become such an issue that in Seattle, the city council there is considering legislation that would clamp down on just how many nights a year someone could rent a place out as a “non-hotel booking.” The theory being that those doing the renting are making so much more money for Airbnb and other internet-rental booking services that they have no reason to put such places, which could command much less per night, on the market as potential rentals for people living in the city.

The new regulations set to go before the Seattle city council include placing a limit of 90 nights of rentals over a 12-month period for property owners that aren’t using their primary residence as a rental. Those using their main residence as an Airbnb spot would need to get a special license from the city to rent for more than 90 nights in 12 months, and such locations would require liability insurance, safety information placed inside the rental and proof that the location complies will all local building and safety codes.

The proposed regulations in Seattle would be much stronger than those in other cities. San Jose, for example, lets an owner rent up to 180 nights a year, if that owner lives on the premises.

And no, Seattle isn’t the only city outside the Bay Area that is thinking about clamping down, or has already clamped down on Airbnb’s challenge to the hotel sector. But in a region known for its role in the creation of new economic industries (You do know where Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks and Costco are all based, right?) the politicians know who is going to be staying around for more than a few nights at a time, and it isn’t the Airbnb customer.

Middle Innings:

Passing On That Collection Plate: Don’t expect to see HP’s name on any of the sponsorship lists of the upcoming Republican National Convention. HP has said it won’t be helping foot the bill of the gathering in Cleveland that starts July 18.

The main reason for HP’s non-existent financial support appears to be pressure from activist groups who are opposed to the presumptive GOP nominee, Donald Trump. For the record, HP isn’t giving any money to support the Democratic convention, which runs from July 25-28 in Philadelphia.

But not supporting the Republican convention highlights the wariness businesses like HP have about being seen as supporting Trump, whom controversy seems to follow everywhere he goes. Even Meg Whitman, HP’s chairman, and also CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and a former Republican gubernatorial candidate in California, has distanced herself from Trump and come out against some of his more inflammatory statements about…Well, statements about almost everyone.

Bottom Of The Lineup: 

Here’s a look at how some leading Silicon Valley stocks did Wednesday…

Movin’ On Up: Gainers included NeoPhotonics, Lending Club, Infoblox, Oclaro and Zeltiq Aesthetics.

In The Red: Decines came from SolarCity, Rocket Fuel, Yahoo, Advanced Micro Devices and YuMe.

The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index barely nudged up by 4 points to 4,952.

The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average added just 2.5 points to end the day at 17,789.

And the broad-based Standard & Poor’s 500 Index?  Well, it, too, did almost nothing, and rose just 2.4 points to 2,099.

Quote Of The Day: “Develop a thick skin.” — Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, speaking at the Code Conference about what he thinks investor Peter Thiel should do, rather than bankroll lawsuits against Gawker Media.

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Photo: Airbnb logo. (Bay Area News Group files)

 

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