The Real Deal New York

Airbnb says Share Better is “front group” for hotel industry

Hosts claim that coalition has been silent on Lightstone Group's EV hotel conversion
October 03, 2016 11:12AM

From left: Airbnb founders Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk and Brian Chesky and Rosie Mendez

From left: Airbnb founders Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk and Brian Chesky and Council member Rosie Mendez

Airbnb claims that some of its loudest critics are nothing more than a front group for the hotel industry.

A group of Airbnb hosts specifically took aim at Share Better, a coalition that has accused the short-term rental site of detracting from the city’s affordable housing supply, the New York Daily News reported. Share Better supported a state bill that levies fines up to $7,500 on New York hosts who advertise illegal listings. The bill, which passed the state legislature in June, has yet to be signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In a letter to City Council member Rosie Mendez on Friday, the group of Airbnb hosts charged that Share Better is “notably silent when actual housing is being converted into hotels.”

According to the Daily News, Mendez has opposed the Lightstone Group’s TRData LogoTINY plan to demolish five buildings in the East Village and convert it to a 311-unit hotel. The conversion will reportedly result in the loss of 10 rent-regulated apartments. But Share Better, of which Mendez is a member, hasn’t had much to say on the matter, the Airbnb hosts wrote in the letter.

Last month, a trade group affiliated with Airbnb claimed that hotels were responsible for the loss of 773 existing housing units in New York City since 2010. The group, Internet Association, also claimed hotels took up 750,000 square feet of space that could have gone to apartments. [NYDN]  — Kathryn Brenzel