The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
In 2014 I sold my home in Hermosa Beach, Ca (which I owned for 30 years)to downsize to a smaller, more affordable home. Over the past 10 years, I continually rented part of my Hermosa Home to roommates so I could continue to manage the mortgage payment. It was stressful and an invasion of my privacy. In August of 2014 I sold my Hermosa Home and purchased my current smaller Redondo home. It took me two years to find the "perfect home" so that I could implement my retirement plan, which includes home sharing. I invested money to modify my new home to provide complete privacy for both guests staying for short vacations, and to ensure privacy for myself. Airbnb has been a blessing for me and the guests they have introduced me to! The website makes it easy and much safer than my previous rental methods for finding tenants/guests. My guests have access to the top two floors of my Redondo Beach home, while I move downstairs to a studio space I built out. I have rented my Redondo Home numerous times since last August without any problems. My guests have indicated via my 5 Star rating that they are very pleased with the accommodations. My home makes it affordable for two families to share vacation space at a very reasonable price. Hotels in my same area cost twice the price I charge as two families would need to rent at least two separate rooms. I worked in Senior Management for 20 years in the financial services industry. Airbnb provides professional support that can match any I experienced in all my years in banking. The website is not perfect and yes there are ways that the "bad guys" can still slip through. I don't believe any service provider could do a better job at safeguarding my interest, as well as the interest of the guests. My guests are making a contribution to my community. My guests, with the help of Airbnb are also allowing me to segue to my retirement. Without home sharing, I would have to sell my home and totally modify my way of life. This is my home, with equity I have built over nearly 40 years of employment. I am always home while I have guests vacationing, protecting my interests, as well as the interests of my neighbors. I have declined many requests (I accept 1 out of 3 requests) of potential guests because I did not believe they would be a good fit for my home/circumstances; i.e young singles looking to party, etc. Without the support of the Airbnb website, I truly doubt that I would have been as effective in my selection of guests. Airbnb provides a comprehensive website. From the screening process to the maintenance of my profile, to the pay out of fees, I depend on them for accuracy and professionalism. It is incomprehensible to me how government, at any level, can impede on this business scenario. I have heard the argument that we are taking business from the hotel industry. Since when did the U.S. discourage free enterprise? It has traditionally encouraged service and product providers to work harder to satisfy their customer. For centuries, people have opened their homes to travelers; to offer food and shelter. Airbnb certainly has refined this age old business to ensure everyone benefits: the guests, the hosts, the communities.