The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
Airbnb's refusal to obey the law proved very destructive to our apartment building. As tenants moved out, entrepreneurs rented the apartments and listed them on Airbnb. This proved profitable, allowing one woman to move to France while subletting her place with a two-night minimum. The guests proved intolerable, however, drunkenly wandering the halls, damaging the building and even stealing from the lobby. In the apartment directly above mine, guests flooded the bathroom twice, causing damage to my ceiling. The renter denied responsibility, emailing me that the super should repair it. Airbnb told me to buy renters insurance. At one point we had five apartments in our building listed on Airbnb, from $150 a night to $350. A full-time sublet meant the renter could earn several thousand dollars a month. While actual inhabitants struggled with the rent, these illegal entrepreneurs could pay more and still turn a profit, which clearly would drive rents up. In just a few months, our apartment building turned into a short-term hostel for foreign tourists. Finally the super tired of the endless stream of strangers and banned Airbnb rentals. We are once again a community of friends. Airbnb blithely tweets about "sharing better" while their employees admit they rake in so much cash they'll never self-regulate. Clearly the government needs to step in and enforce the law. London city government has set the maximum Airbnb rentals at three months per year, and we need to do the same here. First, though, Airbnb should be fined for its consistent flouting of the law, and they should be forced to repair the damage that their illegal tenants have caused.