The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #01848

Submission Number:
Robin Cunningham
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I run a vacation rental in my one bdrm apt above my garage in a neighborhood in Santa Cruz. The revenue provides half of my income and I would not be able to keep my home without it. I'm recently divorced and continuing to work, probably well past the age of retirement (which is 66) but hope it subsidizes my income after that allowing me to keep my house. The City of Santa Cruz is currently considering changing an ordinance prohibiting the use of Accessory Dwelling Units as short term rentals to increase the stock of long term rentals in town in addition to applying a deed restriction on our properties which we, homeowners with ADUs as short term rentals, are currently fighting. For years the city has enjoyed our payment of transient occupancy tax while opposing development and now they want to usurp our properties to overcome their lack of planning and satisfy what the state expects them to provide. Everyone is cannibalizing what they have (or what they want to 'take') because of economic concerns; the prices go up, the available income goes down, people rent out their granny units, spare bedrooms or chicken coops, the city runs out of money for housing and wants to take that away by a local legislative act saying that we homeowners are being 'greedy'! Incredible. I pay all my taxes, to the fed, state and city. It is hard work, requires an investment of money, time and energy to set up and run. I make sure my rental is inhabited by respectful, quiet people who will not negatively impact my wonderful neighbors. I make sure my renters are happy with the product they purchase and many are returners who consider my cozy one bedroom fully equipped apt their 'home away from home'. Many of us are currently at the mercy of what this group of local bureaucrats chooses to do! This is essential income for me and many others like me who would not otherwise be able to afford to buy or afford to keep their homes, which were either built or purchased without any restrictions on use of the ADU. I support owner occupied short term rentals as they are generally the rentals operating with the most controls in place: renters are respectful when on the same property as the owner, owners have pride of ownership and keep the property in good condition (as opposed to out of town owners who don't have control over loud or trashy renters). Renters most commonly arrive in one car and infuse a lot of money into the local economy (which I promote with ample information about restaurants and activities nearby) as opposed to long term renters who are usually students who notoriously ruin rentals and attract lots of cars and people hanging around at all hours (my neighbors would not be happy with that). To be clear: I am not a vac rental owner and operator because it is my passion or because it is 'fun'. I simply need to do this to 'get by' and stay in my home. The renters are pleasant and for the most part my rental is treated respectfully. I hope to continue running this business for as long as possible to subsidize my income, but everyone seems to want a piece of the action. Thank you.