The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #00262

Submission Number:
Juliet Sutherland
New Jersey
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
My children are all grown and I'm divorced, so I live alone in a very large house. I started doing airbnb partly for the money, but mostly to have some company around the house. I didn't want to take in a permanent roommate since it is important to me to have space available when my kids come home. I have 3 rooms that are listed with airbnb. airbnb has grown into an important part of my income. I've been using airbnb for about 3 years. There are no hotels in my town. The nearest are 15-20 min. away by car. I mostly get people who have some connection to my general area, whether they are visiting for some event, used to live here or grew up in the area, are relocating here, or work part of a week nearby and live at a distance. People stay with me for anywhere between one night and 3 months. Although I live just outside of NYC, the only NYC tourists that I get come from outside the US. About 1/3 of my visitors don't have cars and really appreciate that I live within walking distance of lots of restaurants, shops and a grocery store and that access to NYC is very easy via public transportation. I provide an important service in my community both by providing very short term accommodations to people who are here for a local event and by providing accommodations for a few weeks to a few months. The latter is particularly important to people who are relocating or who need to be the area for longer than they'd like to stay in a hotel, but not long enough to rent an apartment. I have smoke detectors and fire alarms, CO detectors, etc. I am confident enough of safety to live here myself. I treat my guests as though they are friends visiting for a few days or weeks. I have a lovely old Victorian home that is my dream house. I love sharing it with other people so that they can appreciate it as well. I have never had any trouble with my guests. airbnb provides lots of information about potential guests and I've turned down one or two that I didn't feel comfortable with. There was a long tradition of people renting rooms to temporary visitors (guest houses) before hotels were as common as they are now. These were somewhat different from boarding houses where the tenants might stay for months or years at a time. I consider myself to be part of that guest house tradition.