The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
About 5 years ago, after several operations, I needed extra income so I listed my 2BR, 1Bth Guest House on Airbnb. It is a separate building from my house. I have a Bluffton Business License and pay the tax on that every year. My real estate taxes have gone up about $1500 a year to cover the "commercial" rental of the Guest House. So I am paying taxes to the Town of Bluffton and Beaufort County SC in addition to income taxes to SC and the Fed. Even so, I make enough money to cover our taxes and insurance, the labor to keep it clean and ready for each guest who books with me, and still make a profit. This isn't exactly the sharing economy, since I pay all those taxes, but it makes a lot more money for me to have short term rentals of the Guest House through Airbnb than renting it long term, so I have nothing but good things to say about Airbnb. In 5 years, I have only had one problem with a guest who booked through Airbnb, because they lied and brought 6 persons instead of 4, so I made two of them leave. I appreciate Airbnb's security checks on my guests and special insurance, although I have never had a loss through theft or vandalism. Our Airbnb guests have been from all over the US and Europe and they stay a minimum of 2 days up to one month and spend a good deal of money in Bluffton's restaurants and shops and discount shopping centers. The Guest House is within walking distance of about 15 restaurants that have opened in the last 5 years, and I expect each guest spends about $200 or more while they are here. The other reason I like short term rentals is that my husband and I have huge families and we often invite them to stay with us, so I can block out family dates on the calendar and not rent the Guest House during those visits. All Airbnb payments have been made to me in a timely fashion. Airbnb has given Bluffton's Historic Guest House great guests and welcome income to me and I hope to continue with them for many years to come.