With the recent Airbnb lawsuit with the city of New York, AirBnb is really throwing their weight around. Airbnb is looking to deregulate the house-sharing industry in the city, as NYC has recently implemented a new law that would require homeowners to be verified with the city prior to listing on the app.
This Isn’t The First Time
Airbnb sued the city of San Francisco over the EXACT SAME LAW claiming that the new regulation put in by the city, requiring Airbnb to verify that their hosts have been registered with the city, was unconstitutional.
Nothing came of the lawsuit, with Airbnb settling but ultimately accepting SF’s legislation. Interestingly however, Airbnb rentals in SF fell off a cliff during the duration of their lawsuit. I’m not sure if those are related.
Nor Are They The Only One
Uber successfully squashed a class action lawsuit in Ontario, Canada, where the plaintiffs, Uber drivers, were looking for employee status so they could be covered under the Ontario Employment Standards Act.
A Unique Business Model That Governments Aren’t Ready For
A private taxi company which doesn’t own a single vehicle? Done.
A global accommodation platform that doesn’t own a single sq. ft of real estate? Done.
A food delivery platform that doesn’t cook a single meal? Done.
Clearly the times they are a-changing, with companies like Airbnb, Uber, and Grubhub, taking their respective industries and turning them on their heads. As companies of this sort start increasing in size, we are witnessing their growing pains, and their competitors trying to force them out. The legislation, competition, and infrastructure, all need to adapt quick with these technological advancements. I’ve never been a fan of governments regulating where they don’t need to, and I believe both the Airbnb and Uber situations are examples of that. If these companies were left to their own devices, and new innovation was encouraged amongst others, we would be seeing a revolution in the dinosaurs that are their respective industries.
Should someone be strapping ankle chains on these innovative companies?