Airbnb Enriches Real Estate Moguls, Ad Alleges

July 6, 2015 | Liam Mathews

Airbnb, the controversial short-term property rental company, has about 25,000 listings in New York City, and about 14,000 of those are technically illegal. Affordable housing advocates accuse the company of exacerbating the housing crisis by turning apartments that could be used for New York City residents into expensive hotels. On top of that, a new ad from the housing rights group Share Better Coalition alleges that commercial landlords abuse the listings service by using it to force out tenants and make millions of dollars from unlawful listings.

The satirical spot presents Airbnb as a charity benefiting struggling real estate moguls. “By renting out just one of the hundreds of apartments and homes they’ve listed on Airbnb, you can join the fight against affordable housing,” says the sarcastically earnest pitchwoman.

According to text in the ad, “nearly 40% of Airbnb revenue goes to real estate moguls.” Airbnb says this number is exaggerated, and 90% of listings are private individuals renting out their own home. Even if both sides are exaggerating, Airbnb as a company has raised $2.3 billion in venture capital funds. The executives of Airbnb have become real estate moguls in their own right. Airbnb presents itself as being for the people, but it isn’t.

Also, the Share Better Coalition is funded by the hotel industry, which is threatened by Airbnb. The boom in hotel construction has also been bad for affordable housing in New York. Basically everything is fucked.