The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I have just started to rent an extra bedroom in our house through Airbnb. I decided to do this because I was laid off from Microsoft. At the time I was laid off, through an informal survey of my peers in the same situation, we determined about 80% of those laid off were over 40 years old. Well, I'm 63 and I can tell you it is very hard to get a job at that age -- especially in high tech. It has been 6 months and I have run out of severance pay and unemployment insurance. So, renting a bedroom is helping to pay the mortgage. I'm very careful who I rent to and through Airbnb's tools, I only rent to "verified" individuals after I ask them for more information and thoroughly check out their references. I am also security savvy (being in IT) and secure our valuables when we are renting. I know I can count on Airbnb to make things right if there is damage to our property. I think Airbnb is an important option for middle class families in America to earn extra money while also broadening their contacts by getting to know the people who stay with them. I think this is an especially a good option for middle-aged people who may have children who have gone and they have some extra room. Renting through Airbnb not only brings extra income to the hosts (on which we pay taxes), but it brings in money to the local economy. My recent guests went out to dinner every night they were here, saw a play, and visiting two local museums - both of which had hefty admission fees. I don't think we should be subject to other high taxes though much like hotels pay. We are not large corporations who can afford to have security personnel, legal personnel, cleaning companies, etc., at our command. We are doing all of the work and taking all of the risk in renting to strangers.