The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
Airbnb helped me keep my house. I work as a teacher for the state of North Carolina, a state that had a pay scale set for teachers, and then abruptly stopped following that pay scale about six years ago. I looked at my budget and my mortgage and decided to try out homestays in order to make ends meet while I waited for North Carolina to catch up. Today, I still live in my home, and now I have lots of new friends from around the world who have come to stay with me for anywhere from one night to one month. I have loved showing off my amazing city to visitors. Since I live in my condo full-time, the impact on my neighbors has been negligible. I have good relationships with my neighbors and they have talked with me on the rare occasion that one of my guests has created any issues for them. For the most part, my neighbors have either not noticed that anyone was staying with us, or they have said how friendly those people were. We have travelled a couple times through Airbnb and had great experiences. Companies like Airbnb put money into the local economy through the families who rent out their homes, and also through the recommendations that local homeowners provide that hotels do not. What can't be quantified is the relationships that are built, and the feeling that we are all part of one great country and one big community. When short term rental laws in Asheville were brought to our attention, we had to change our minimum from one night to one month. That was a much bigger burden on us. When the laws shifted to reflect "homestays" for people like us who live in our home full-time, that was a relief. From my personal experience, when people are full-time residents of their home they are better able to assist guests and minimize the impact on neighbors. I think it is still workable for people to rent out their spaces and take good care of their guests and their neighborhood, but it is a different situation. I really appreciate that our city has made a distinction between the two. Today, I am glad to know that income can still come in through sharing my home. If I made enough as a teacher to make ends meet and have a savings account, would I still be renting out a room of my home? Absolutely not. I would take that room back for myself. Until then, I will still open up my home to strangers who become friends.