The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #01235

Submission Number:
Beth Riley
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
My husband and I own two small cottages in Ocean Springs, MS that we offer for short term rental. One of the cottages was our home before Hurricane Katrina damaged it so badly we had to have most of it torn down. Because it is on the water, any new building would have to be elevated 23 feet and the insurance, and building costs would be prohibitive. This was our dream home even though it was quite small and modest. So, we fixed up the part we could save and we now rent it out. We would not be able to keep the property because of taxes and insurance if we didn't rent it. The other house is a 1200 ft, cottage in town. We lived in it for 3 years after Katrina, and then bought a larger house so our grandchildren could all visit us. It is a very popular rental for our many festivals and downtown shopping. These rentals supplement our retirement income and also provide wages for our housekeeper, yardman, and other maintenance workers. Our guests spend money downtown at shops and restaurants and this in turn benefits our city with sales taxes. Our guests appreciate the privacy of a cottage and being able to walk to the shopping areas, museums and other attractions in our area. When we travel, we also use VRBO to find a place for a vacation stay. We like the personal contact with the owners which is a main attraction to travelers who use short term rentals. We keep our properties in pristine condition which is another benefit to our small town. Many rental owners have been able to renovate their older homes with the money they earn from the rentals. My husband and I are in our 70's and enjoy meeting the folks who stay in our properties. We would not be able to earn the same amount of money with a long term lease and would face the prospect of a a long term renter who does not take care of our property, it would be difficult to sell our properties because of the high cost of insurance in our area. So, renting them is our best prospect for us in retirement.