The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I've been using the "sharing economy" site Airbnb for two years, on both ends. As a traveler, it's really nice to be able to stay in someone's home that I can pre-screen for chemicals and scents (hotels use too many; most households do not) and to be able to receive local recommendations for sights and eats and things FROM a local. I have the same thing to offer to my guests as a host, and it's wonderful. Additionally, I use the money I earn (which I also pay fed, state, and local taxes on!) to help fund projects that maintain my my 100-year-old home. In other words, the money helps me be a better steward to the home that I own and to the neighborhood. The reasons why I think this platform is great for all involved: --Sometimes people stay at my home because local hotels in the area are booked. --I am not keeping good rental housing stock off the general rental market; I simply rent out my 1BR home to travelers while I am away from it and not using it myself. --The money is an economic stimulator; my guests are spending money in my area, and the money I earn I use directly to make improvements to my home. Also the US government receives its taxes; there is no secret exchange of money that is off the books. --In a world where strangers feel less and less friendly, sharing homes among fellow travelers is a really great way to have the world feel warmer, less cold. Locally in my area, there is a problem with a housing shortage. Local laws are taking care of local Airbnb regulations to help prevent owners like me from keeping good housing stock off the rental market. I, however, don't fall in that category because I occupy my home. If I were to move out of it I would offer it on the rental market and delete the Airbnb listing. This really isn't a federal issue. Thanks for reading.