The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #01988

Submission Number:
Lisa Caruso
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
To Whom It May Concern: The existence of the home-sharing service, Airbnb, helped me to survive in 2014, and so far has augmented what I've earned as income in 2015, which is still not at my regular level of income earning potential. I am a single professional female with over 25 years of work experience, hold a masters degree and am currently obtaining a second masters(MBA), own a home out of state, own a car, have a 700+ credit score, and have earned as much as $150,000 per year, however, I could not secure work in 2014 and unemployment benefits did not provide enough for basic survival, including for the high rents in the city of Los Angeles, where I reside. Luckily, I was able to use Airbnb to rent out my home for short-term rentals and stay with friends so that I could pay what amounted to the cost of my entire rent for the year at approximately $20,000 before taxes. If Airbnb hadn't existed, I wouldn't have been able to stay in Los Angeles and continue seeking work, which I did finally secure by November 2014. That consulting work recently ended and I am in the same situation as last year although am now pursuing an MBA to expand my work opportunities while also continuing to seek full-time employment. I have used Airbnb to continue to supplement my income and pay my rent and food. I can't imagine not having the option to do so and lose my residence, which I have lived in for nearly 10 years, as I have no family neither spouse, children or parents, to turn to in financial crisis, and would only accrue further debt, as a result. Giving up my home to let others stay in it occasionally is not ideal scenario, but the alternative of being homeless is certainly not preferred. I happen to live in a trendy neighborhood that many visitors to Los Angeles wish to visit. I am happy to host them and have only found the Airbnb experience to be a pleasant one (just like the rideshare experiences of Uber and Lyft)as it is a network of trustworthy people who use these services, who are merely looking for a more affordable alternative and are personable and kind. I know there is some controversy about home/ride sharing but in my personal opinion, it saved me financially in this troubled economy when few other options existed, and I can't imagine going forward without it as I strive to level out my income earning potential again. I hope you will consider the benefits which far outweigh whatever concerns you have about its existence. Sincerely, Lisa Caruso