Video: Mayors on home sharing’s momentum and its benefits for their cities

Home sharing’s momentum in the US is growing and in partnership with Airbnb, cities are realizing the benefits through new tax revenue and stable communities. So say four mayors and one former mayor of prominent US cities in a video aired before fellow city chief executives gathered for the US Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting in Washington, DC.

“I do believe that this is the way of the future,” Jersey City, NJ Mayor Steven Fulop observes. “Home sharing is happening. And it’s going to happen more and more,” says former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who now serves on Airbnb’s mayoral advisory board. “Airbnb is taking off in Houston.”

“So all of us, governing leaders, corporate leaders have to figure out a way to make it all work,” says Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans, whose city voted new home sharing rules into effect on December 1. “My strategy was to engage and see if we could work in a practical way to find a solution for the people of the city of New Orleans. I think we’ve succeeded.”

The mayors also speak of achieving true partnerships with Airbnb. “Airbnb really came to the table. They didn’t come in an overly aggressive way. They came in and said, ‘We really want to be a partner. We want to work with you,’” New Orleans’ Landrieu recalls. “They reached out to us on the front end. They wanted to figure out how their community could be good neighbors. I appreciated that more than anything,” says Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

“It keeps our neighborhoods intact, it keeps our homeownership intact. It’s been a very positive thing for the city.”

Mayor Mike Duggan of Detroit speaks of how home sharing helps keep Detroit communities stable: “It keeps our neighborhoods intact, it keeps our homeownership intact. It’s been a very positive thing for the city.”

“In Detroit, we have a lot of beautiful, old homes, where people have lived in them for 30 or 40 years,” Duggan explains, “and maybe they would have otherwise had trouble keeping up with the payments or the taxes, and home sharing allows long-time families to stay in their home.”

Jersey City’s Fulop points out the benefits of the resulting tax revenues: We have seen them be a key partner, helping us on the revenue front with dollars similar to what the hotels pay. It has helped us in Jersey City with police, with fire, with services.”

Alongside the video, Airbnb released updated tax projections showing that if the 50 largest cities in the US were to let Airbnb collect and remit taxes on behalf of its community, the windfall for these local governments would add up to to $2.5 billion over the next 10 years, an increase from $200 million estimated for 2015 due to the growth of our community in these cities.

As it stands, Airbnb already has remitted $175 million in hotel, tourist and occupancy taxes to more than 220 cities and communities around the world since we first began doing so in Portland and San Francisco in 2014, a four-fold increase from $42.6 million in taxes remitted in 20 cities as of our report at this time one year ago. Highlights of the report can be found here, and the complete report can be found here.

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