Airbnb lost a high-stakes vote in Jersey City that will put increased restrictions on short-term rentals

Jersey City voted for more Airbnb regulations.

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Jersey City voted for more Airbnb regulations.
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Walter Hickey / BI

  • Jersey City residents overwhelmingly voted in favor of additional regulation for Airbnb in the city, Bloomberg reported.
  • This was a major defeat for Airbnb, which spent more than $4 million campaigning against the increased regulation ahead of the vote and its upcoming IPO.
  • Jersey City is a short train ride from Manhattan, and a popular location for tourists to stay during a New York City trip.
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On Tuesday, nearly 70% of Jersey City voters chose to increase regulation for Airbnb rentals, Bloomberg reported.

Municipal Question 1, which was on the ballot in Jersey City, limits short-term rentals where the owner is not on-site to 60 days per year, with no restrictions on listings where the homeowner is on-site. The measure was designed to limit properties used exclusively as Airbnb listings, which residents complained raised rents. According to a study from the Harvard Business Review in April, rents in a location rise as the number of Airbnbs increase.

Airbnb spent $4.2 million campaigning against the ballot question, according to Bloomberg. Jersey City’s 3,000 Airbnb listings are popular among tourists visiting Manhattan, and the company has already faced significant opposition within New York City.

“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,” an Airbnb spokesperson told Business Insider.

“Cities from Buffalo to San Francisco, and Boston to Seattle have managed to pass comprehensive short-term rental regulations without punishing tenants or creating red tape and onerous registration systems,” the statement continued. “It’s unfortunate to see the hotel-backed special interests run a campaign that moves Jersey City in a different direction. There are Airbnb listings in over 100,000 cities around the world and we will continue to do all we can to support hosts.”

Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop was publicly in favor of the increased regulation, and tweeted his opposition to unregulated Airbnbs.

This is a loss for Airbnb as it nears its 2020 Initial Public Offering. Other tech unicorns including Uber, Lyft, and Peloton have seen their share prices fall since their IPOs.