Airbnb launches advertising campaign to seduce Los Angeles

Airbnb turns on the charm in Los Angeles, where he could soon face strict regulations. In a new ad campaign airing on radio and TV today, LA-area entertainers of varying ages and races talk about “sharing” their homes with strangers to help pay their rent or mortgage:

“Living on a fixed income would be very difficult. Airbnb helps me… Without this income, I would not have survived. Without this income, I could no longer stay in the house where I have been since I was 12 years old. I bring dollars to South Central LA, my neighborhood,” host Vanessa says in one of the ads.

“People who share their homes, when they get into it, they really get into it. It’s part of their way of life,” says host Julio, from North Hollywood.

Anyone unaware of the controversy surrounding Airbnb might see it as a company that does a whole lot of civic good. But critics say short-term rental activity is siphoning needed rental units from the market.

Los Angeles desperately needs more housing. Its vacancy rate is only 2.7% according to an urban planning report — the lowest among the country’s major metropolitan areas. Reviewers say short-term rentals offer landlords the chance to make more money faster. In one case, Los Angeles prosecutors allege the landlord of a rent-controlled building in the Fairfax District evicted his tenants in order to list the units on Craigslist.

The new campaign is launched as the city of Los Angeles prepares for repress on short-term rentals. The proposed rules would only allow hosts to rent space in their primary residence, and then only for a maximum of 180 days per year. Rent-controlled units or designated affordable housing could not be rented at all, in an effort to stem the loss of affordable units to more lucrative short-term tenants. Hosts would also be required to pay the same transient occupancy taxes that hotels pay.

Airbnb spokeswoman Alison Schumer said the scripts for the new ads were a collaboration between the ad producers and the hosts themselves, who were chosen from the “vocal host community”. in Los Angeles. Last month, Airbnb formed a group to bring together hosts who “share” their homes. (Airbnb is very careful about using the word “share”. Atlantic at underline, that sounds a lot more altruistic than “hosts enjoying their homes.”) Airbnb says in a post on its Blog that it is “all the more important for the home-sharing community to share ideas that will help shape fair and sensible laws”.

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