Frustrated Denver officials reject deal with Airbnb

Denver officials rejected a proposal from Airbnb this week on how to remove inactive and illegal postings from the site, according to documents obtained by The Denver Post — the latest development in the drawn-out negotiations between the city and the company.

Airbnb had proposed to cooperate as long as its deal with the city was kept secret and the company was offered the most favorable terms in town, according to the document.

The proposal was untenable, Molly Duplechian, of Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses, wrote to Airbnb officials.

“As we have expressed, we welcome the dialogue but require all businesses in Denver to comply with the rules without special preference or protections,” said Duplechian, the department’s deputy director of policy and administration.

City officials charged with regulating Denver’s short-term rental market are frustrated as negotiations continue slowly, Duplechian continued.

Company officials have negotiated in good faith with city staff and remain committed to finding a solution for Denver, said spokesperson Sam Randall.

However, Eric Escudero, a spokesperson for the department, has said the company has dragged out the negotiations since 2018.

The approach appears to match the company’s behavior in other cities like Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco and New York. In some cases the company has filed lawsuits over the disagreements before ultimately settling and agreeing to cooperate with local regulations.

“This tactic may have worked elsewhere, but it will not work in Denver,” Escudero said in an email. “Our hope is that all home sharing platforms will comply with local laws and not request illegal and secret agreements in exchange for making partial commitments to comply with the law.”