The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #01498

Submission Number:
Penelope Ray
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I am a host with Airbnb and use that venue to help me rent out part of my home to travelers. I began my affiliation with Airbnb Labor Day weekend 2014. It has been only positive. 1. The income generated helps me pay property taxes, insurance, and other costs of owning my home, such as heat and plowing in the winter. As a retired person, this additional source of income enable me to stay in my home. 2. Every transaction is rated and posted online. No other public commerce has this, in my experience. Every guest writes a review of me and my space. I write a review and rate each guest. This system creates an environment of safety and reliability. If I read that a potential guest has harmed someone else's property or been difficult to deal with, I can choose not to rent to them. And if a guest writes that my rental is dirty or I am not kind, I will be out of business. This self policing aspect of Airbnb is priceless. It invites everyone to "behave" and this is good for all. 3. Airbnb promotes safety. It provided me with a smoke/carbon monoxide detector and a first aid kit. My home is my biggest investment, and I strive to protect it. I already had those safety features in place, as well as lights on timers and lights with motion activated sensors, to enhance safety of guests. I also have a separate liability addendum on my homeowner's insurance, in addition to the policy coverage offered by airbnb. 4. My rental through Airbnb offers travelers a unique option for travel. Where I live, if someone wants to rent a house or apartment, the option is usually for a week. I rent this kind of space by the day. Most guests choose to stay for a weekend, or 3-4 days. Options for travel are good for tourism in Maine, and many of my guests are first time visitors to "Vacationland," our state's nickname. 5. In summation, the option to rent out a portion of my home is good for everyone. I benefit as the source of income allows me to stay in my home. My guests benefit by having a unique option in travel. The state of Maine benefits in the 8% lodging tax it collects on my income. And other businesses profit - insurance, local tourism based businesses such as restaurants and grocery stores, home maintenance businesses such as landscaping because I attemp to keep my property well maintained for guests, etc. . The Queen of England recently endorsed legislation passed in the UK supporting airbnbn style accommodations. This is the wave of the future, and the US should support it.