Real Estate

Jersey City residents vote in strict regulations for Airbnb

New ruling could scare investors

Residents of Jersey City voted for strict restrictions on Airbnb and other short-term rental companies.

Jersey City residents voted Tuesday in an overwhelming majority in favor of stricter regulations, which will most likely shrink the number of Airbnb listings in the city.

The restrictions will allow homeowners to rent out parts of their homes, but only if they are present during the stay. Residents of Jersey City can no longer rent out their entire apartment or home.

Airbnb holds about 3,000 listings in Jersey City, many of which are run by large-scale investors. Residents often experienced loud or even unruly tourists in residential areas. And with investors taking up housing stock, pushing already high home prices even higher.

But with Tuesday’s vote, the residents of Jersey City made their voices heard. The new restrictions passed with 70% of the vote.

Airbnb lost despite having devoted significant resources to the fight, including $4.2 million to fend off the new rules.

“They thought their money would win and I’m proud that Jersey City said otherwise,” Steven Fulop, Jersey City’s mayor, said on Tuesday. “If I was an investor in Airbnb I would certainly take note, as this message of regulation wasn’t sent by politicians, but it was dictated directly from the people.”

This comes as Airbnb is doubling down on its marketing and poising the company for growth. The company is gearing up for major growth, and it is hoping its efforts pay off as it is poised to go public in 2020. Airbnb has not laid out a specific timeline yet, but continues to say it will happen “during 2020.”

But will this and other fights the company has faced against cities across the U.S. scare investors away? Airbnb doesn’t seem too concerned.

“From the start of this campaign, we knew this was going to be one of the toughest fights we’ve faced, with the big New York hotel industry determined to fight home sharing, but we had an obligation to stand up for our community,” Airbnb spokesman Christopher Nulty said in a statement.

“There are Airbnb listings in over 100,000 cities around the world and we will continue to do all we can to support hosts,” Nulty said.

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