New York City’s crackdown on Airbnb, which was enforced earlier this month, has been described as a “de facto ban” by the company. The tough restrictions, designed to bring back thousands of rental properties to the housing market for city residents to live in, will be closely scrutinised by politicians in cities worldwide. Many argue that Airbnb’s exponential growth – it is now valued at close to $100bn – is a key factor behind the soaring inflation in property prices and rents that is fuelling a global housing crisis. They will be hoping that interventions like New York’s will show them a way to take back cities across mainland Europe and the UK for people who actually live in them.
With more than 6m properties in 100,000 cities rented out through Airbnb, many politicians are beginning to recognise that the huge number of homes lost to short-term lets booked on digital platforms is inextricably linked to the housing crisis. It is further pushing up already unaffordable rents for people living in cities and in tourist areas with large numbers of second homes that are rented out.