The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #00308

Submission Number:
00308
Commenter:
Lauren Dale
State:
Georgia
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
Good afternoon, I wanted to take a few moments to send you my comments about the "sharing" economy, particularly in relation to AirBnb. As a single, young women who just bought her first place, having the opportunity to share/rent my space on Airbnb has helped me become more financially fit. It helps me pay the mortgage, my student loans, and many other bills like home and car repairs that I may not have been able to plan for. I no longer have to put things on my credit card and hope I can pay it off with next years bonus. Being able to rent my space an generate extra income has been ESSENTIAL to me this year, especially because Fulton County in Atlanta decided to increase property tax by 18% -- making my ownership much more challenging than anticipated. Airbnb's trust and safety and messaging tools allows me complete control over whom I let into my home. I can get to know the people and make my decisions based on a number of factors, including past reviews, verification, and the personality in their messages. I don't have to give my personal information out and feel like I'm in complete control of the process. AirBnb's policies on hosting make me feel extremely comfortable in conjunction with my own personal insurance policies. At the end of the day, I have the right to cancel or refuse someone's stay at my place. It's also important to remember that Airbnb is an important option for Americans to be able to earn some extra money without having to take on a second job, which many full-time employees don't have time for. By simply renting out my place and staying with friends/family, I have the opportunity to make some cash to help with all the bills and struggles that many other middle class Americans face. I pay 35% in taxes from my salaried job and yet have over 70K in student loan debt, of which I only get 2K in write off's each year. I struggle each month to pay all the bills while pouring 35% into a government who hasn't done anything to help manage my private student loan debt, which is almost as much as my mortgage each month. I pay for to support government programs at maximum tax when I'm personally struggling to pay off my own education. Because I have an education, I make more money, which means I get taxed higher. However, the balance is totally off and I find myself with just about as much free cash as someone without an education. I plan to use my income from AirBnb to help pay down the principle of my student loans, an option I only have at bonus time each spring when I have to try to budget for a whole year. For the past two, I've been using my bonus to manage the extra expenses I couldn't pay for the previous year. For the local economy, by staying at an AirBnb, tourists get to see a city while lining the pockets of the citizens versus big hotel businesses. This is good for both the host who may need the extra money as well as the local businesses who get more spend from tourists who are saving on hotel costs. I recently traveled to Paris and Amsterdam and was able to spend the money I saved renting an Airbnb place (60 euros a night) versus a hotel (300+ euros a night) in the various shops, restaurants, and tourist attractions. I know the locals got more money than the hotel chains who certainly have enough. I think the biggest issue America is fighting the big business hotel chains who want to keep the market in their pockets and use their existing money to block other options like AirBnb. I beg the decisions makers to remember the people who don't have that power and keep this an option for middle class Americans and local business/economies who are the people that really benefit from a program like AirBnb. Please remember the average middle class American who only has time for one job. Usually, our costs go up but our salaries are not increased accordingly. I would be happy to answer questions or further comment on this issue at anytime. You can reach me at [REDACTED]. Lauren