San Francisco joins Portland, Oregon as the first cities to see tax revenue come through the room and apartment rental site. As Airbnb's head of global public policy David Hartman wrote in a blog post, the San Francisco-based company has always been keen on paying its share of taxes, but "some of these rules are arcane and difficult to follow." The new agreement is pretty straightforward, however: Airbnb will simply collect the hotel tax as a separate charge on a guest's bill, the same as any other hotel in the city. So, under the new deal, renting the couch in Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky's home on Rausch Street in SoMa (the original Airbnb) will now cost $45 and change, up from an even 40 bucks.
Supervisor David Chiu, who has been working on regulating Airbnb in San Francisco for the past two years, tells the Chronicle the next step will be to introduce further legislation to regulate the "shareable housing" industry. The city's eviction-happy landlords, meanwhile, probably won't ever get on board with the service as long as it allows tenants to rent out rooms for profit. In most cases, subletting an apartment or room via Airbnb is still a quick way to violate one's lease, but Airbnb has promised to hide hosts' names in order to protect the folks who are skirting rental laws.
Outside of San Francisco, Airbnb has agreed to pay taxes in Portland, Oregon while also encouraging hosts to give back to their city through a vague Shared City Initiative that Chesky loosely defined in a feel good, Buzzfeed-y blog post. In New York City, the company is calling on Mayor de Blasio to help their hosts figure out how to pay that city's 15 percent hotel tax. Airbnb is also rumored to be going public in the near future and is reportedly valued at nearly $10 billion.