The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #00031

Submission Number:
00031
Commenter:
Robert HANCOCK
State:
Outside the United States
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I can only talk about AirBnB (ABB) in London, UK where I have direct experience of the company. Because ABB "landlords" are unregulated and outside the need to conform to regulations regarding gas and fire safety, many conventional landlords have realised that they can easily switch from heavily regulated long-term lets to ABB-style lets, reducing costs of business and increases profits. However, the unintended end result has been a loss of long-term let property for ordinary people, causing a housing crisis and rising rents in the capital. Additionally, ABB landlords can more easily escape both the legislative net if something is wrong with the property (few short-term visitors would withhold "rent" or complain to a housing ombudsman over a damp wall). They can also avoid income tax on casual income when a householder uses ABB to sell space in a house to casual visitors. To summarize: 1. ABB causes loss of rental housing stock and rising rents 2. ABB causes legislative issues with safety and tenants' rights 3. ABB causes loss of income tax to government In most other scenarios, government would act to regulate these shortcomings and protect the public-so far ABB has slipped under the radar in the UK at least but I hope not for much longer.