The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
As a vacation rental owner who uses Airbnb.com, I can offer several points regarding the growing importance of the "sharing" economy in this country. The home that I currently rent to tourists has been for sale for 8 years. The housing market was crashing before it was completed and I have not had an acceptable offer in all of these years. Renting the home brings in enough to pay for the upkeep and insurance on the home while I am waiting for the housing market to improve to the point of being able to sell for a reasonable price. If I was unable to rent it, these expenses would be coming out of my pocket and would create some financial hardship. Additionally, the small profit I make from this activity is currently my only earned income and therefore; the only way I can save for retirement. There are no motels nearby and some of the accommodations within driving distance are very expensive. I do not believe that I am reducing business for others. Also, people staying overnight in the local area are likely to spend money at local businesses, which directly impacts the quality of the town and ensures jobs for local residents. Airbnb makes it possible for homeowners such as myself to get something back on our homes towards bills or a mortgage without it coming out of the family budget. The security features and review process make hosts and guests alike feel safe and comfortable that they know something about the person they are dealing with. With so many families struggling in this economy, the importance of this activity cannot be understated.