- Airbnb announced it will introduce a dedicated hotline next year for mayors and city officials to connect with company representatives if hosts or guests are not complying with rules.
- Airbnb said the new hotline is "part of our ongoing commitment to work with cities around the world," and is designed to "deepen that trust by making sure that city officials have a dedicated way to communicate with Airbnb in the rare event that hosts' or guests' conduct are not meeting our standards."
- The hotline is part of a series of new rules Airbnb has written to improve host and guest safety, including new standards of behavior for guests and a ban on party houses. More details on the hotline feature are expected in the coming months.
Airbnb and other short-term listing companies have been blamed in part for shrinking housing capacity and driving up prices, exacerbating affordable housing crises.
Cities have reacted in a bid to get the problem under control. Detroit, New Orleans and Boston are among the cities that have toyed with or enacted regulations. Meanwhile, New York City has gone through its own battles with Airbnb, issuing a subpoena to the company for information about 20,000 rental listings in a battle over sharing user data.
Laws going into effect in Boston have forced Airbnb to remove thousands of unlicensed listings, while Jersey City, NJ voters recently approved a similar crackdown due to concerns over rising rent costs.
But the company has made moves to be a better partner in cities. In San Jose, CA, it is partnering on a pilot program to encourage homeowners to rent their residences as free, temporary housing after natural disasters, while it has done similar work in several other states to find temporary housing for people who have been displaced.
With the company rumored to be preparing itself for an initial public offering (IPO) or direct listing next year, Airbnb's new standards could help lay the groundwork for entering the stock market. It will need to show potential investors and cities it is trustworthy and not dogged with the same issues other companies like Uber and Lyft have faced in the midst of their own entries into public trading.