Yglesias is unsure:
Airbnb came to Washington to promote the idea that it’s facilitating a peer-to-peer "sharing economy," not empowering a new breed of cold-blooded hospitality entrepreneurs. They emphasized that Airbnb is in many ways not directly competitive with existing hotels, simply adding to the frequency of trips and giving tourists access to neighborhoods that aren’t currently served by major chains. That’s may be true, but one reason those neighborhoods don’t have hotel beds is that in most cities you can’t just slap up a hotel in a residential neighborhood or turn an existing residential property into one. Big cities draw a fairly firm distinction between a house and a hotel, but Airbnb’s entire business is based on obscuring that line.
He hopes the laws will change:
More visitors is good for almost any town. It’s time for cities to take note of what’s happening on the ground and start making changes to ensure that it’s legal.
Landlords can also pose problems.