San Francisco’s attempt to more tightly control services like Airbnb has been voted down in a city-wide ballot.
The proposed initiative, Proposition F, was ambitious. It aimed to limit the total amount of time a propriety could be rented out for to just 75 days per year, as well as imposing severe fines for those who dared to flout the rules. But in yesterday’s vote, reports the San Francisco Chronicle, the proposal was defeated 55 percent to 45 percent.
Airbnb fought hard to defeat it, spending $8 million on campaigning to overturn the proposal. While it’s arguments — mainly that it contributes large quantities to the San Francisco economy in tax revenue — weren’t always presented well, they did clearly work. By comparison, backers of the Propostion F spent just $482,000 on campaigning.
In a press statement, Airbnb spokesman Christopher Nulty explained that “voters stood up for working families’ right to share their homes and opposed an extreme, hotel-industry-backed measure... The effort showed that home sharing is both a community and a movement.”
But while it seems like a victory for Airbnb, the room-sharing service may still have a tough time ahead. As Re/code points out, it “demonstrates that [Airbnb is] willing to pour millions of dollars into waging ugly political fights.” If other cities propose similar legislation, it might not be $8 million of campaigning, but hundreds.
Image by AP