In 2017, Airbnb was accused by travel blogger Asher Fergusson of failing to close dangerous loopholes allowing for scams by hosts. In many countries including the United States, France, Canada and the United Kingdom, Airbnb doesn't require hosts to provide any form of identification. A host who has been "permanently banned" can set up a new account under a different name and email address. Addresses are not verified so "bad" hosts can list lodging at any address, even if they don't control the property.
In December 2017, the City of Toronto under John Tory, adopted similar restrictions, banning homeowners from leasing their basements with separate entries and their other non-residential units for short term rentals, also arguing it was to protect the long term rental market. Government issued licensing and fees would also be required to hosts to continue to short term renting. The move was also criticized by some hosts who rely on Airbnb as a source of income; with one of them arguing the government's control over their property was like living in Stalin's era of the Soviet Union. Airbnb responded in an open letter to the mayor and members of the City Council, welcoming fair competition but also made several arguments, including that Toronto's economy as a growing global hub also benefited from its listings. Many local residents depend on Airbnb for extra income and living expenses. The new economy evolved business and challenged the older business models and methods. Toronto, according to them, would benefit its reputation by adopting these newer business styles and ideas. It encouraged the city to continue to allow hosts to rent out their owned spaces, whether rooms in their house or in external spaces. All of this, according to Airbnb, brought about two hundred and ninety two million dollars into the city's economy.
Airbnb is criticized for its impact on housing affordability, sparking protests, and for its related data management. As of the beginning of 2018, several studies found that rental prices in many areas increased due to Airbnb, as landlords kept properties off the longer-term rental market and instead get higher rental rates for short-term housing via Airbnb. Landlords have been accused of illegally evicting tenants in order to convert properties into Airbnb listings. In San Francisco, the issue led to protests in November 2015.
Airbnb, Inc. is a privately held global company headquartered in San Francisco that operates an online marketplace and hospitality service which is accessible via its websites and mobile apps. Members can use the service to arrange or offer lodging, primarily homestays, or tourism experiences. The company does not own any of the real estate listings, nor does it host events; as a broker, it receives commissions from every booking.