Big electoral defeat for Airbnb in New York suburb
Airbnb has suffered a humiliating election defeat in Jersey City, which voted overwhelmingly to clamp down on the home sharing company’s activities in the New York City suburb.
Around 70 percent of voters in the city of 270,000 residents — which is separated from Manhattan by the Hudson River — voted in favor of severe restrictions on locations that offer short-term stays, according to results released Wednesday.
While expanding options for tourists, fast-growing Airbnb has been criticized for constraining home supply, marring neighborhoods with transient and sometimes rowdy lodgers and denting the local hotel industry.
The rules, approved earlier this year by the Jersey City council, established permitting requirements for short-term rentals and mandates that a proprietor must be present if someone rents for longer stays.
Airbnb sought the referendum as a challenge to the ordinance in the New Jersey city, garnering 20,000 signatures for a referendum and spending millions of dollars on advertising.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who helped write the ordinance, taunted Airbnb on Twitter.
“I just want to say publicly that you brought a campaign of misinformation to Jersey City, you lied, you spent $5 million and #jerseycity showed you what they thought,” he said.
Airbnb, which is planning to go public in 2020, blamed the defeat on the hotel industry.
“From the start of this campaign, we knew this was going to be one of the toughest fights we’ve faced, with the big New York hotel industry determined to fight home sharing, but we had an obligation to stand up for our community,” said Airbnb spokesman Christopher Nulty in a statement.
The vote comes after several other cities, including New York, Paris, Berlin and Barcelona, have enacted measures to restrict Airbnb.
Launched in 2008, Airbnb has been valued at more than $30 billion. In September, it reported that it garnered more than $1 billion in revenues for the second quarter.