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Cities Startups Policy

Airbnb Looks to Settle Old Fights, Faces New Threats

Airbnb’s regulatory roller-coaster ride has taken new twists as the company enters its second decade. When the home rental site sent employees updates on its talks with local governments in June, it heralded positive momentum with politicians in two of its “toughest markets,” Barcelona and Berlin. It decried a “problematic” bill passed by the Pennsylvania House that would obligate the company to take down illegal listings. Meanwhile, “regulation/supply issues” in Japanese cities have hurt key growth metrics, according to internal emails viewed by The Information.

While no city by itself has a make-or-break impact on Airbnb’s business, internally the company closely tracks how certain cities are progressing, especially those dubbed “super cities”—top urban markets including Barcelona, London, Paris, Tokyo and Osaka. Through mid-June, Airbnb saw a slight decrease year over year in new listings in so-called super cities, a likely result of new restrictions on rentals. That put it slightly behind pace to meet its annual goal in those markets, according to the internal documents.

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Airbnb will have more chances to influence policy in the next few months, as Los Angeles and Miami Beach consider new regulations.