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Letter: Airbnb is taking steps to better serve Buffalo

We appreciate the concern expressed by the Editorial Board in their Feb. 26 editorial, “Airbnb must be made to ensure rentals are registered” – in fact, we share that outrage.

But outrage is not enough – action is key. When we learned of the tragic loss of life, we immediately deactivated the listings involved, banned the guest who originally booked the listing and launched a full investigation. We were in touch with the city and the Buffalo Police Department to offer our full support.

And while we recognize this all happened after this incident, we believe this speaks to our commitment to working hand-in-hand with the City of Buffalo – with all cities – to preserve safety and quality of life. Last year, we announced a number of trust innovations to further this goal, including by banning party houses and open-invite events, introducing a new real-time Neighborhood Support Line and much more.

In addition, when the city came to the table last year with the local host community to craft clear, fair rules of the road for home sharing, we applauded their new ordinance as a model for municipalities across the state. Given this, we are currently working with the city on an education campaign to ensure our hosts are aware of this new regulatory landscape. This will include putting details about the registration process on our website and emailing all of our Buffalo hosts to inform them of their obligations to start, though we see this as the beginning of a long-term partnership.

As I said earlier, action is key – and here at Airbnb, we are taking the necessary steps to honor our commitment to the City of Buffalo.

Josh Meltzer

Head of New York Policy – Airbnb

New York City

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