The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #01886

Submission Number:
Abby Bard
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
Dear FTC, When I was younger, I had some wonderful travel experiences in Europe, Thailand, and Central America -- the best of those were when I stayed in small guest houses or when individuals would invite me to stay in their homes, and I could experience for myself the culture I was visiting. Now that I'm nearing my 70s, I'm relying on Social Security, while still working part time out of my home as a massage therapist, weaver and writer. With a spare bedroom and bathroom available for guests, I've been sharing my home the past year through Airbnb, and have met many wonderful people of all ages, from the US and abroad. It's been a mutually beneficial experience for all of us -- they get to enjoy my home and garden; I get to be in my home and meet some very interesting folks, and the world is a smaller and friendlier place. I have a license from the city of Sebastopol and pay transient occupancy taxes (TOT) to the city on a monthly basis. I also pay income taxes on my home share income to the IRS and the State of California. In my own community, my guests visit local restaurants, shops, wineries, music venues, art galleries. I can help them with suggestions and directions to places to eat and shop, go hiking and sightseeing; in turn, they provide me with some extra income to spend at local business as well, so the local economy has benefited from home sharing, too. My guests can park here and walk all over town and really get to explore the community. I've even taught a few of them to weave on my looms! It's been a wonderful experience for me and I hope to continue to be a part of the home sharing community. Home sharing builds trust and creates community connections. On so many levels it has enhanced my life and given me a financial assist now that I am older and not able to work as many hours as previously. Home sharing is a beneficial economic, social and environmental system that has worked for me and my guests. I fully support it continuing. Thank you for hearing what I have to say. Sincerely, Abby Bard