Airbnb cuts ties with vacation-rental firms in Los Angeles
Amid mounting pressure from housing advocates and community groups, Airbnb is cutting ties with some of its biggest money-makers.
Two of the home-sharing giant's largest Los Angeles-area hosts — vacation-rental firms with dozens of apartments apiece — said Friday that Airbnb had dropped them from its site this week, canceling upcoming bookings and scrubbing their listings. A number of other large hosts in the region have also disappeared from the site.
Activists, including labor groups and residents, protest outside Globe Homes and Condos in Venice on Wednesday. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
The San Francisco-based company had little to say about the moves, issuing a brief statement that said its "mission is to connect hosts with guests and provide a quality, local and authentic experience. We routinely review our platform for market quality and adherence to this mission." A spokesman said he couldn't comment on specific hosts. There is no sign of similar moves in other big Airbnb markets, such as San Francisco and New York.
But the presidents of Globe Homes and Condos in Venice and AE Hospitality in downtown L.A. both said they received phone calls from Airbnb on Tuesday, telling them that their listings would be removed from the site and bookings after April 15 would be canceled.
"The rep who called us mentioned the growth plans of Airbnb conflicts with us listing on their website," AE Hospitality president Ari Eryorulmaz wrote in an email. "No explicit reason was given."
And he wasn't the only one. An analysis of Airbnb listings for The Times by Tom Slee, an independent researcher working on a book on the sharing economy, found that 10 of the 13 hosts with the most local listings on the site in October no longer had any on Friday. Globe Homes, the biggest, had only a handful of houses listed in Palm Springs, instead of the dozens of units it typically lists in tourist-friendly parts of L.A.
Just like Eryorulmaz, Globe Homes owner Sebastian de Kleer said he got a call on Tuesday.
"We had about 50 listings removed," he said. "They told us on the 31st" of March.
The move comes as Airbnb faces growing scrutiny at L.A. City Hall. City officials are meeting to try to determine how to better regulate the booming short-term rental industry, which is technically illegal in much of the city, though critics say those rules are rarely enforced and hotel taxes often not collected.