Airbnb Says Its L.A. Hosts Earn Thousands of Dollars

Airbnb Says Its L.A. Hosts Earn Thousands of Dollars
File photo by tommypjr/Flickr

Airbnb, that thing where you let anyone off the street sleep in your bed, is quite the money maker, at least if the short-term rental firm is to be believed.

The Silicon Valley concern this week said its "typical" Los Angeles host made $7,000 last year through hosting on its platform. That's, like, Uber money.

Its new report also claims that Airbnb action creates $670 million in economic activity and $920 million in economic impact for the city.

The numbers-dropping comes as the Los Angeles City Council is expected to weigh a proposal that would apply hotel taxes to Airbnb stays and require that hosts actually live at the locations they're listing.

The proposal by Councilman Mike Bonin and council president Herb Wesson would prohibit landlords from evicting rent-control tenants so their apartments could be converted to full-time Airbnb units.

A study last month found that nearly one-third of Airbnb revenue in the city of Los Angeles was connected to so-called short-term rentals that were available every day of the year.

"In some popular tourist communities such as Venice, speculators have subverted the 'sharing economy' business model, converting regular rental housing into short-term rentals, significantly reducing rental stock and contributing to increased rents and decreased affordable housing," Bonin's office said in a statement last month.

A spokesman for Bonin said his proposal "would allow short-term rentals by people practicing 'good homesharing' (renting out a spare room, guest house or their entire house or apartment while they are away) while outlawing 'bad homesharing' (abuse of the technology to run de facto hotels by renting out a bunch of units in an apartment building or buying up rental stock and taking it off the market to use as permanent short-term rentals)."

Airbnb is fighting back with big bucks and big data.

Its report says that 84 percent of its L.A. hosts "are sharing their permanent home," according to a statement. The "typical" L.A. Airbnb unit is available 62 nights a year, the firm says.

More than one in 10 (13 percent) of Los Angeles hosts said Airbnb income has prevented foreclosure. "Another 10 percent of hosts said that their income from hosting has saved them from losing their home to eviction," Airbnb stated.

"At that rate, nearly 3,000 Los Angeles hosts have avoided foreclosure or eviction and kept their home due to the supplemental income they make from hosting on Airbnb," the firm says.

More than half a million guests have stayed in Airbnb units last year, it said.

The question is, with L.A. housing at a crisis level, is it worth it?

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