WITH ITS IPO PENDING, WHAT IS AIRBNB HIDING?

On 14 June 2018, a Report to the US Congress, under “TITLE II DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, announced:

 

Child Sexual Exploitation and Sharing Economy. --Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this act, the Attorney General shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations and the Judiciary a report detailing the impact of short-term rentals and the sharing economy upon human trafficking and child sexual exploitation. The report shall identify additional challenges that the sharing economy poses in identifying and prosecuting perpetrators of human trafficking and child sexual exploitation. The report shall also include recommendations to minimize the negative impacts of the sharing economy with regard to human trafficking and child sexual exploitation.

 

A week short of 18 months after this Act was passed by Congress, one must ask:  Where is the Attorney General’s Report?  And if there isn’t a Report, why not?

 

Seven days after the Orinda Airbnb shootings – 5 individuals gunned down and killed - Airbnb’s Brian Chesky said in a – Hey Team, In The Business Of Trust” announcement  – that the company would begin a verification process to check the accuracy of each of its 7 million rentals, establishing:  addresses, photos, listing details, as well as the cleanliness, safety and amenities offered.

 

Earlier this year New York City instigated a lawsuit against a real estate brokerage firm alleged to have used fake identities to illegally rent out more than 130 homes via Airbnb in 35 buildings, collecting US$21 million in profit.  

 

On 21 November, six Democrats in the US House of Representatives wrote to Brian Chesky, asking that their concerns over fraudulent listings and the proliferation of limited liability corporations listing on Airbnb’s platform be urgently addressed.  An Airbnb spokeswoman declined to comment on the House of Representatives’ letter, referring questions to the Travel Technology Association, whose president said he doesn’t believe there is a need for this level of review by Congress, adding:  “The letter itself is clearly drafted from hotel industry talking points.” 

 

Christine Chalmers lives four homes away from the Orinda ‘rave house’.  Christine took to Twitter and wrote to several US Congressmen and Congresswomen.  She in turn received a Twitter response from Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky – “You’re blocked”.  In Ms Chalmers’ words:  “…At least now I know how @bchesky feels for the neighbors impacted by this tragedy.”  

 

The NSW Government’s planned framework will allow ‘hosts’ – Tenants included - to use residential dwellings for short-term rentals.  Do all NSW Landlords know that legislation will be enacted, permitting their property to be sublet on hundreds of platforms? Do the following Airbnb ‘hosts’ own the properties listed, or are they already subletting the homes of others? 

 

‘Bella’ has 21 homes, ‘Vivian’ has 9 homes (but lives in China), Sabrina’ has 212 homes, David’ has 23 homes, ‘Zara’ has 25 homes, ‘Jarad’ has 96 homes, ‘Inna’ has 39 homes, ‘Danny’ has 66 homes, ‘Michael’ has 8 homes, ‘TAP’ has 138 homes, ‘Rowen’ has 138 homes, ‘Aimee’ has 23 homes, ‘Ellie’ has 49 homes, ‘Victor’ has 65 homes, ‘Zoe’ has 36 homes...

 

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