"Housing advocates and some city officials are blaming Airbnb for rising housing costs, arguing that the $10 billion start-up has given landlords an incentive to keep apartments vacant to make way for short-term rentals." - Kaja Whitehouse, in USA Today, January 20, 2015. Here is the coverage.
NYC City Council will hold its first oversight hearing about Airbnb's impact on the availability and cost of long-term rentals. The perception is that landlords and investors have closed off property to standard tenants. They make more money leasing the space on a short-term basis through Airbnb.
Originally this sharing economy model was targeted at those already living in a home or apartment who wanted to make some extra money by renting it out to tourists. Because the price for an overnight stay was lower than that of a hotel, that was viewed as a win-win. Airbnb was on the side of the angels in the court of public opinion.
Now that is shifting. If Airbnb is found to be having negative impacts on housing in major metro areas, it could be severely regulated in them. That would be a major setback.