The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #00580

Submission Number:
00580
Commenter:
Lesley Stuart
State:
Washington
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I was a working professional for many years in the software industry. At the beginning of the national economic downturn in 2007, I lost my job. It was a very unfortunate time to be in the job market, and especially for me, as I had just turned 60 years of age. I was (and still am) a homeowner with a mortgage. After unemployment benefits ran out, I found myself 62-years-old and forced to file for early social security retirement benefits. It was my hope to collect my benefits for a couple of years, and eventually stop, repay the total collected, and then re-file at the higher rate. Unfortunately, the government removed that retiree option (without any fanfare or notice) in 2010, and when I was in a position to repay the social security payments to date, I could not do it. With certain limiting health issues cropping up, I was living very close to the edge indeed. Thank the stars for AirBnB! I was able to offer a small space in my house for short-term rental, the income from which has helped support me with my mortgage, medical expenses, and daily living. I honestly do not know what I would have done without that income! In addition, I have met extremely interesting people from all over the world, thus expanding my horizons (I do not travel any more). Living as I do in the Pacific Northwest, there definitely is a 'rental season', so I have to budget very carefully to get through the winters. I always look forward to spring when visitors pick up. Fortunately, my house is located in a part of the city with appropriate zoning, so I am not violating any local ordinances. I feel protected as a host because AirBnb provides such great insurance for both hosts and guests. They are extremely responsive in resolving issues that crop up from time to time. It has changed my retirement and possibly even saved my life! Lesley Stuart