The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
A lifelong New Yorker and resident of Fort Greene, Brooklyn for 17 years, I care deeply about our city. Four years ago, I became an Airbnb host, renting our garden apartment for short-term stays. Hospitality is in my genes. I love meeting new people and providing a beautiful place for visitors. I am also proud of my neighborhood and enjoy sharing it with people from out of town. Airbnb hosts like myself support clear rules governing what we do. We represent a new economy, one that brings us income by renting part of our home, but also that generates revenue for our community. I pay taxes on the income earned. My husband lost his job in 2012. Renting our garden apartment on Airbnb helps us pay the bills. It has become part of our financial stability. We own our home and work hard to maintain the 1865 building, situated in a landmark district. Since launching our short-term rental, we have hosted visitors from China, Sweden, Germany, Italy, England, France, Denmark, Holland, Spain, Finland, Norway, Uruguay and over 20 states in the USA. Every single visitor spends money in our local shops and restaurants. They rave about Brooklyn, excited to have discovered an authentic neighborhood that makes them feel like natives for the few days they live here. Tourism is a huge part of New York's economy. By hosting guests in Fort Greene, we draw people away from typical destinations like Times Square and Central Park, to the less-known jewels such as the Brooklyn Flea, Brownstone Brooklyn and Prospect Park. Visitors see and participate in the community. They return home and tell their friends about it. I feel part of a virtuous circle, one that engages in cross-cultural exchange by talking with tourists from around the world, and one that shares the vibrant, diverse city that makes New York so unique. Read the reviews on our Airbnb rental listing: all 81 of them attest to how much our guests appreciate the experience. They get personal attention (homemade granola!), insider tips on the best neighborhood bars and grocers, and advice for how to navigate the subways. We want to continue doing the good work we do. We need the supplemental income. We believe there is room in New York for chain hotels and tiny mom-and-pop operations such as ours, neither at the expense of the other. Thank you for your consideration. I attach portraits of three guests, to give you a visual idea of the people we host from around the world! In 2015, I started an art project, photographing each set of guests on the stoop of our house.