David Hantman, the public policy leader at Airbnb, gave an update via a conference call to New York City hosts about the ongoing case with New York City’s Attorney General. Mr. Hantman and his team also discussed the recent internal push to screen/remove “bad actors” from Airbnb, the tax policy surrounding being a host, and fielded several miscellaneous questions.
We attended the conference call, and took some notes. You can read the notes below, as well as listen to a recording of the call for any context you may need.
03.28.14 - Airbnb NYC Host Update Call
On the call from Airbnb:
- David Hantman - Public Policy Leader
- Elizabeth - moderator
- Reid - “GM” of Airbnb New York
- Marie - part of the communications team
Elizabeth does introductions and invites David to begin the update:
- NYC attorney general subpoenaed them for a lot of data late in 2013, still fighting that in court and can’t comment on it.
- No personal data has been turned over.
- The attorney general asked about “bad actors” on their site
- The dispute is mainly about Airbnb user personal data
- Airbnb have started to remove hosts and property groups that are seen as “bad actors” on the site. It’s an internal process - no gov’t agency has been involved.
- Airbnb will call hosts to figure out what exactly is going on, it may not mean you are close to getting removed.
David beings to speak about the tax responsibility for hosts in NYC:
Airbnb is working on it with the city, but “it’s complicated”. Airbnb has offered and intends to take on the entire burden for collecting taxes on behalf of the host, and will add a line item during booking. Hosts do not have to do anything.
Airbnb would even like to collect and remit the taxes to the government on behalf of the host, but this is just in the idea phase. Airbnb can not pay the taxes on behalf of the guests/hosts. The guest needs to pay and the host needs to give that money to the government.
There are 20,000 hosts in NYC. (13 mins into the call)
A host asked the question: “What is the actual law in NYC right now for hosts?”. David replied:
If you rent a shared space and you are there during the stay - it’s considered okay. If you rent a single family home, this is “generally okay” - if you don’t charge money. If you rent out your entire apartment while you’re not there - it’s not okay (but the gov’t says this is not enforced). Long-term rentals are okay (30+ consecutive days)
You can listen to the full recording here.