The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) released
a study on Wednesday alleging rampant illegal activity among Airbnb’s most
prolific hosts and pushed further for more stringent regulations on home rentals.
Airbnb took issue with the study, calling it “deeply
flawed” and “misleading.”
The AH&LA commissioned a study by Penn
State University’s School of Hospitality Management that estimated almost 40%
of Airbnb's revenue in the 12 largest U.S. metropolitan areas is generated by
hosts with at least two units, and that almost 30% of revenue was generated by
so-called “full-time hosts” who book units at least 360 days per year.
For the study, Penn State culled data from Airdna (a
company that provides data to vacation rental entrepreneurs and investors) for
the 13 months ended September 2015. The data was culled from properties in New
York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, San
Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Combined, hosts
in those cities who rented out entire homes generated $1.3 billion in revenue
for the 13 months.
Such activity from what AH&LA termed “corporate
landlords” was particularly common in Miami, where full-time hosts accounted
for 61% of the city’s Airbnb revenue. In New York, full-time hosts accounted for 24% of
total revenue, 31% in Los Angeles and 22% in San Francisco.
Throughout the 12 cities, full-time hosts averaged
$142,000 in revenue for the 13-month period.
“A significant and growing percentage of Airbnb’s revenue
comes from those with multiple residential properties rented out on a full-time
rental basis,” AH&LA CEO Katherine Lugar said in a webcast on Wednesday.
“These corporate landlords dodge taxes, skirt the laws and flout safety
Airbnb faulted the study, calling it inaccurate and
misleading. In New York, about 95% of Airbnb’s hosts have just one listing,
while the median number of a host’s annual nights booked per year is 42,
according to Airbnb spokesman Nick Papas. In San Francisco, the average Airbnb
home rents out 90 nights per year, while in Los Angeles and Seattle, 80% of
Airbnb listings are booked fewer than 90 days per year.
Papas added that while the AH&LA study pegs the
number of full-time hosts within the 12 metro areas measured at almost
2,700, the true number is 17.
“This report uses misleading data to make false claims
and attack middle-class families who share their homes and use the money they
earn to pay the bills,” Papas said. “The overwhelming majority of Airbnb hosts
are middle-class people who occasionally share only the home in which they live
and while Airbnb hosts keep 97% of the price they charge for their listings,
hotels take most of the money they earn out of the community.”
Regardless, AH&LA, citing the study, says multi-unit
and full-time hosts are accounting for a growing percentage of Airbnb revenue
and continue to operate illegally by violating short-term rental laws and
either avoiding or underpaying occupancy taxes.