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Rooms Rentals & Shares

Airbnb CEO responds to illegal rentals story: “First of all, it’s not illegal everywhere”

@jasonclampet

Jan 11, 2013 3:00 am

Skift Take

Chesky’s statement at the PandoMonthly event about Airbnb working with local authorities conflicts with interviews we did with local authorities. They characterized discussions with Airbnb as a “one-way street” trying to legalize their business model.

— Jason Clampet

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Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky being interviewed by PandoDaily founder Sarah Lacy.


Last night, PandoDaily founder Sarah Lacy interviewed Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky at a sold-out event in the tech blog’s PandoMonthly interview series. Chesky used the opportunity to address Skift’s story from earlier this week about illegal rentals in New York City and other markets.

Sort of.

During the interview Chesky chose to focus on what he described as “unknown” rules for companies like Airbnb as well as the the strength of Airbnb’s screening system.

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“Many of those regulations existed before you had modern technology,” Chesky told Lacy after she asked about illegal listings. The law in New York State that affects Airbnb and other vacation rental companies was written and passed in 2010 and became law in 2011. According to state officials, the law was designed to both streamline and modernize existing laws that were complicated and outdated.

“First of all, it’s not illegal everywhere,” Chesky said. “It’s legal in most places in the world.”

Chesky discussed the larger challenges of the sharing economy and local laws: “A lot of businesses are being started in the sharing economy. And a lot of these businesses, whether it’s like Uber or like Lyft or Sidecar … Many times they’re going to have these regulations. They’re going to be unknown regulations, uncertain, they are always at the city level so they’re sporadic and they’re vast across like 30,000 all across the world. And they’re primarily set up for screening. To protect consumers.”

“Well it turns out that cities can’t screen as well as technologies can screen. Companies have these magical things called reputation systems,” Chesky said.

“We think government should exist as the place of last recourse.”

Watch the portion of the interview where Chesky addresses Skift’s story:

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