A news article this morning notes that Airbnb purged 1500 listings from its site before supplying numbers to New York City regulators.
The purge removed listings precisely of the type that regulators had been looking for: those of “professional” hosts who managed multiple properties.
Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess has been looking into Airbnb’s presence in Seattle for similar concerns: both about skirting the local hotel taxes and regulations, but also about its effect on availability of long-term housing.
Airbnb recently published a “Seattle Economic Impact Report” touting how good it is for the local economy. I analyzed it in a posting here.
I have a request for comment in to Burgess. UPDATE: A staff member for Burgess’ office responded: “We have been following this story from New York as we engage with Airbnb, other short term rental companies, and third party data collectors to get a better picture of the short term rental market in the Seattle area.”