The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #01723

Submission Number:
01723
Commenter:
Holly Tempo
State:
California
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I learned about airbnb through some friends who were hosts. I decided to try it as I have a back unit on my property that is not permitted for permanent tenancy. I spent six months prepping the space and researching airbnb. I launched the space in January 2015 and had my first guests later that month. The space has been fully booked ever since and is currently booked through July 2015. This has been a life-changing experience. I've been able to supplement my income to catch up on home repairs and other necessary expenses. I have also really enjoyed meeting the visitors who hail from, in addition to cities across the U.S., Russia, Australia, Chile, Columbia, Canada and China. I've hosted a range of people from a recent graduate of William and Mary College who was interviewing for jobs in Los Angeles to tourists on holiday to a model in town for a job to the parents of a USC student. Several of my future guests are coming to town to see concerts at the Forum; and a young woman from Iceland is coming to volunteer for the Special Olympics this summer. I have not had problems with my guests and have worked hard to minimize impact on my neighbors (e.g. on-site parking, no drugs/excessive drinking rule, and quiet hours). I've noticed that the tourists, who easily make up 50% of my guest roster, spend all day visiting popular attractions in Southern California (Disneyland, Universal Studios, the beach, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame are favorites). They also do a great deal of shopping and dining at local businesses--as evidenced by the packaging materials left in the trash. The visitors are spending a lot of money and also experiencing first hand the city of Inglewood, which has had a troubled past but is experiencing a burst of development and positive press. Although most of the guests rent cars, a few have used Uber and public transportation. I take my role as a host very seriously and have installed safety equipment (e.g. fire extinguisher, carbon monoxide/smoke alarm, and first aide kit). I have hired a woman in my community to clean the units between guests. This is significant as it helps me to manage the space and provides crucial income to someone in need. I also provide goodie baskets and flowers, spending an average of $15-20 per booking--not to mention costs for cleaning supplies and dry goods. This experience has truly changed my life! I think that it is a great thing for people to use personal assets to supplement their income. This is actually not a new thing as, historically during hard times, people have rented out rooms, run boarding houses or even had rent parties to make ends meet. The only real problem I have observed via the media thus far is when developers purchase multi-unit properties and rent them all out as airbnb units. As they are absentee and generally not invested in the community where their units are located, problems such as disorderly guests or a shortage of affordable housing units can occur. In spite of those types of challenges, I am very grateful for the extra income as well as the opportunity to meet people from around the world.