The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
Hello. My name is Dee Anderson. I am 61 years and have been an AirBnB Host since the summer of 2012. I offer long-term AirBnB rentals in my 2 guest bedrooms to travelers who want to visit Los Angeles for periods longer than 30 days. Most of my guests are from other countries, however, each year I have hosted my rooms to university students who needed to stay in Los Angeles for long-term internships through their university. The average university internship stay has been 10 weeks. As a result of these university guests staying in my AirBnB rooms, they experience housing savings of 50% or more than if they were to stay in a hotel or motel. For 20 years, prior to the AirBnB shared economy opportunity, I was a full-time landlord operating rental properties in California. I am a 15-year breast cancer survivor and had always planned for my rental incomes to be a supplement to my retirement income because of my health diagnosis and prognosis while in remission. I lost all of my rental properties through foreclosures and short sales between 2006-2009 and barely held onto my personal home property. The US banks were just so unforgiving! So, for the first time in 20 years, in 2011, I filed my US income taxes without any rental income to report. However, in 2012, when I submitted my documents to my tax preparer and reported the AirBnB income for the first time, my tax preparer had never heard of AirBnB. However, she asked me for the website address and did her own research to identify the income and reported back to me that I am, again, in the property rental business. So, the AirBnB income will take the place of the supplemental income I would have been receiving from my property rentals had I been able to hold onto them. I thank God for AirBnB! I enjoy sharing my home with my AirBnB guests. I have hosted AirBnB guests from 10 or more countries. These guests are able to shop at the local grocery store, dine at the local and neighborhood restaurants, and buy coffee at the local Starbucks and pay for entertainment at the local movie theaters and nightlife places. Most of my guests spend money to get around on the LA area metro transportation, especially to the nearby LA beaches. I have been told by several guests, that a lot of their spending dollars would be limited if they were only able to have an extended stay at a hotel or motel. All of my guests enjoy my hospitality, my home-like atmosphere and the extra amenities I provide that are not available at most hotels. Some of my extra amenities are free Wi-Fi, all kitchen small appliances like toasters, blenders, refrigerator/freezer storage space, cooking facilities and utensils as well as extra storage containers to store leftover foods. In November 2014, I failed my [REDACTED]. I incurred a doctor and hospital bill over $3000 that resulted from follow up tests and [REDACTED]. As a result, I will be retiring as a middle school math teacher in the summer of 2015. It will be the AirBnB income that will allow me to continue my lifestyle, pay for my own health care plan through Covered California and pay my monthly home mortgage payments. I am hoping to enjoy my retirement years without having to risk losing my home because of medical bills or without having to significantly reduce my lifestyle due to reduced and fixed retirement income. AirBnB income is an excellent supplemental income for retired Americans and me!