Airbnb Faces Questions From US Lawmakers On Listings

Airbnb is facing questions from U.S. lawmakers who want information about hosts who go against the company’s policies and don’t comply with local laws. Six members of Congress said in a letter to Brian Chesky, the company’s chief executive officer, that they are especially interested in recent reports that have indicated the spread of limited liability corporations on the site, Bloomberg reported.

Misleading as well as deceptive listings have also led to customers swindled by “hosts” who take advantage of the cancellation policies of Airbnb per the letter. The document was signed by California’s Barbara Lee, Illinois’ Robin Kelly, and New Jersey’s Bonnie Watson Coleman along with as other lawmakers.

Airbnb announced significant safety measures after a deadly house shooting in California. Those new safety measures encompass 100 percent verification of all site listings, a full refund policy for guests and a 24/7 neighbor hotline. The startup is also getting ready for a public listing next year and is aiming to take care of regulatory issues with different cities across the nation.

The lawmakers were hoping the CEO would meet with them in the next two weeks to answer questions. Those include how it will verify the truthfulness of photos on rental listings and how it screens hosts. Representatives for the homesharing platform did not immediately answer Bloomberg’s comment request.

In separate news, Airbnb experienced a setback on Nov. 5 when Jersey City residents voted to apply more regulations to short-term rentals. Over 69 percent of voters cast their ballots for the measure. Many cities across the nation are worried about how the company operates and what impact its rentals have on long-term residents.

The regulations mean Airbnb will need to have permits to operate in the city and will put restrictions on the criteria for being categorized as a short-term rental. A property can’t be considered a short-term rental for over 60 nights if an owner isn’t present, in one case, and properties that are rent-controlled can’t be used.

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