By Patrick Clark January 20, 2016 Bloomberg
Just who lists short-term rentals on the website Airbnb is a hotly contested question. The company has argued that the site is “for the people, by the people, of the people”—a way for ordinary homeowners and renters to wring some extra utility out of their homes. Critics say the website is a boon to professional landlords who shirk taxes and drive up rental prices by turning housing stock into quasi-hotels.
A new study of data captured from Airbnb’s website, conducted by researchers at Pennsylvania State University with funding from a hotel industry trade group that is critical of Airbnb, suggests that much of the activity on the site centers around homes owned by professional or commercial landlords, rather than individuals or families renting out their primary homes.