Short-Term Rental Update: Airbnb poised for a reprieve in the EU; Guesty offers innovative and more streamlined tools for property management side of short-term rentals

Garvey Schubert Barer
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Airbnb poised for a reprieve in the EU
("Why Airbnb Could Escape the Uber Trap in Europe," Fortune Magazine on Apr 30, 2019)
The Court of Justice of the European Union is considering whether Airbnb was breaking the country’s housing laws by operating without an estate-agent license. The question is how much control Airbnb exerts over the transactions between hosts and guests. It appears, based on an opinion issued by the top legal adviser to the Court, the housing laws will be determined to not apply to Airbnb because hosts maintain significant control over each transaction, including decisions relating to rental rates and cancellation policies.

Guesty offers innovative and more streamlines tools for property  management side of short-term rentals
("How Automation Technology Is Changing Property Management, Forbes - Innovation on Apr 26, 2019)
Guesty is an innovative company thinking about ways to make the property management side of short-term rentals more efficient and seamless for operators and guests. It offers a unified calendar to manage properties listed on multiple online travel platforms, keyless entry options, task management systems for cleaning and repair teams and pricing tools.

Other news:

Industry News

Marriott officially enters short-term rental market
HousingWire on May 2, 2019
Hospitality giant Marriott International has officially entered the short-term rental market, going after home vacation rental giants like Airbnb and HomeAway. Earlier this week, Marriott announced that it is launching Homes & Villas by Marriott International, a home-rental initiative that offers 2,000 premium and luxury homes located in more than 100 destinations across the U.S. and worldwide in vacation destinations such as Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America.

Hyatt CEO Found Homesharing Experiments 'Challenging'
Hospitality Net - Latest Industry News on May 3, 2019
Following news earlier this week that Marriott International, the world's largest hotel company, plans to officially launch a homesharing platform next week, fellow hotel companies have been asked if they would consider the same.On Wednesday, for in...

Airbnb to offer 200 new luxury suites at Rockefeller Plaza
Airbnb Inc. guests will soon be able to book luxury suites in the heart of New York’s iconic Rockefeller Center. The home-share titan is taking over 10 floors of 75 Rockefeller Plaza, with plans to convert them into 200 overnight apartment-style suites in a new partnership with RXR Realty, one of New York City’s largest real estate developers.

Airbnb Backlash: Island Oasis Dreads Becoming Hamptons Hotbed
New York Times - Most Recent on Apr 29, 2019
It takes eight minutes by ferry to cross the Peconic River, the body of water that separates Shelter Island and the South Fork of Long Island, but the distance in temperament between the two areas could not be more pronounced. With osprey circling over the island’s 30 square miles of Long Island pine trees and the wetlands of Mashomack Preserve, and tricycles piling up outside the Tuck Shop ice cream parlor, Shelter Island has the refined but casual feel of an accidental resort town.

How an ‘Airbnb exodus’ could create UK ghost towns
The Week Featured Articles on Apr 25, 2019
Inner-city communities are at risk of becoming ghost towns as a result of a surge in the number of rooms put up to let on Airbnb - and the resulting exodus of local residents.An analysis of data carried out by the BBC suggests the number of rooms or homes listed in London has increased fourfold since 2015 to nearly 80,000.

Regulation & Legal Developments

Squamish weighs three options for regulating Airbnb-style rentals
Burnaby Now - News on May 7, 2019
The District of Squamish is considering three ways for how it will regulate Airbnb and other types of short-term rentals. During an open house on May 2 at the Adventure Centre, the municipality showcased a permissive option, a moderate option, and a strict option for regulation.

Lawmakers seek to end local bans on vacation rentals
HousingWire on May 6, 2019
Local bans on short-term rentals in Michigan could be barred themselves under controversial legislation being considered a Republican-controlled state House committee. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jason Sheppard, R-Temperance, said the local zoning rules created to ban short-term rentals such as those available through AirBNB, Homeaway and VRBO infringe on private property rights and are an abuse of Michigan’s Zoning Enabling Act.

Parts of Boston's short-term rental ordinance blocked by judge
HousingWire on May 6, 2019
Last year, short-term rental giant Airbnb sued the city of Boston in federal court over the city’s short-term rental ordinance, claiming that it requires the site (and similar sites) to police its platform far more than it does now and share confidential user information with the city. The city of Boston has now been blocked from enacting two provisions of that short-term rental ordinance.

How Toronto's proposed short-term rental regulations compare to other cities
CBC - Toronto News on May 4, 2019
Toronto Places like Montreal and Vancouver already have regulations - but how effective are they? In late 2017 and early 2018, Toronto city council approved regulations on what kind of short-term rentals should be permitted in the city. While Airbnb hosts are appealing the city's move at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal— with a decision not expected until after the hearing in August — other Canadian cities already have regulations in effect.

Hawaii Weighs Measures to Curb Airbnb
Skift Travel News on May 3, 2019
While Hawaii is not the only destination reeling from the impact of short-term rentals from Airbnb and other providers, its already sky-high housing prices and limited land make the problem especially acute. Regulatory measures to control the number of illegal rentals may provide some relief.

Whitehorse developing local Airbnb regulations
CBC - North News on May 2, 2019
Whitehorse city planners are working on a plan to regulate short-term home rentals that are advertised through Airbnb and other online marketplaces. The goal is to have a new bylaw in place by this fall. Currently, short-term rentals in Whitehorse don't require a business licence, and there aren't regulations.

Airbnb should be free to operate across Europe: EU court adviser
Reuters Technology on Apr 30, 2019
Airbnb should be treated as a digital service provider and free to operate across the European Union, an adviser for the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said on Tuesday following a complaint by a French tourism association. The home-renting service welcomed the opinion, saying it provided “a clear overview of what rules apply” after the French tourism group issued a complaint saying it had acted as a real estate agent and broken EU property rules.

Home-Share Sites Urge 9th Circ. To Rehear License Ruling
Law360 - Real Estate on Apr 29, 2019
Airbnb and HomeAway have urged the full Ninth Circuit to rehear whether Santa Monica, California, can require residents who use home-sharing websites for short-term rentals to obtain licenses.

Town's Zoning Rule Bars Short-Term Rentals, Pa. Justices Say
Law360 - Technology on Apr 26, 2019
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Friday that zoning rules governing a neighborhood of single-family dwellings in a Pocono Mountains township barred the use of a property for short-term rentals like those brokered through Airbnb and other websites.

Enforcement

Travel Advisors Mull the Implications of Potential Hawaii Short-Term Rental Crackdown
Skift Travel News on May 8, 2019
Like other popular travel destinations where housing is expensive and in short supply, Hawaii is reeling from the effects of a proliferation of short-term vacation rentals. The situation is especially acute on the densely populated island of Oahu, where thousands of short-term rentals lacking the required county-issued permits have sprung up in once-quiet residential neighborhoods.

Transactions

‘Airbnb for warehousing’ startup Flexe raises $43M to help online retailers take on Amazon
GeekWire on May 7, 2019
As more consumers shop online, retailers need capacity to ship products across the country — particularly as they battle e-commerce kingpin Amazon. Flexe, a Seattle logistics startup that operates an on-demand warehouse marketplace, is helping them do that. The company today announced a $43 million investment round to meet demand from a growing number of companies needing “pop-up” storage space.

Sonder Poised to Become Airbnb's Billion-Dollar Competitor
Wall Street Journal Technology - What's News on Apr 24, 2019
Airbnb Inc. has made strides against travel-industry incumbents, but is now facing its own competition from an emerging group of startups. One of them is Sonder Corp., an operator of a rentals marketplace for travelers that is close to completing an investment round that will value the company at about $1 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

 

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