Airbnb might be about to face some tough regulatory challenges as the company looks to expand further around the world. A number of big cities, including Paris and New York are ready to band together and put out a unified playbook for companies that deal with the “sharing economy”.
According to a report from Bloomberg, mayors and city officials from around the world met up in Amsterdam last month to set out a common plan on dealing with Uber, Airbnb and other such companies that are disrupting traditional businesses. The cities, which also include Toronto, Athens and Barcelona, want to use their combined populace and market power to force Airbnb and Uber to abide by common regulations. A spokesman for New York mayor Bill de Blasio explained:
Having the 20 or 30 biggest urban markets of the world all operating under entirely different rules doesn’t do much good for anyone. We want consumers and tourists to have some consistency, city to city, to leverage the size of markets, which together are enormous, so that the voice of cities will actually make an impact.
As for its part, Airbnb was seemingly positive about this development. The company said:
Airbnb has collected $85 million in taxes and helped thousands of people pay their bills and stay in their homes. Every city is different, but we’ve seen how cities around the world are embracing Airbnb and we will continue to partner with individual cities to address their unique policy needs.
Airbnb has mostly slipped under the radar when it comes to protests and PR debacles, but Uber, an exponent of the same type of “sharing economy”, has had numerous run-ins with regulators, taxi drivers, city and government officials and courts of law.
With companies such as these oftentimes moving into a new markets and getting a large user base before dealing with local regulations, it’s no wonder that there’s a reactionary movement on the part of traditional businesses.
But with agreements such as this one between major cities, a partnership which is expected to put out a common rulebook by October, “sharing economy” companies will likely be forced to come to the negotiating table and slow down their global expansion.
Source: Bloomberg | Image via The Drum