Debate Continues on the Impacts of "Sharing Economy"

As we approach the final set of hearings on the new home sharing ordinance for Los Angeles, the debate about the impacts of the "sharing economy" continues to garner media attention. 

We were pleased to see some of our most-respected Senators, Feintstein and Warren, author a strongly-worded letter.

“We are concerned that short-term rentals may be exacerbating housing shortages and driving up the cost of housing in our communities.  We have also read troubling reports of racial discrimination on some short-term rental platforms. Furthermore, we are concerned that communities and consumers may be put at risk through violations of sensible health, safety, and zoning regulations under state and local law,” the senators wrote.  “In order to assess of the use and impact of the short-term rental market, we need reliable data on the commercial use of online platforms. We believe the FTC is best positioned to address this data gap in an unbiased manner and we urge the Commission to conduct a review of commercial operators on short-term rental platforms.”

The letter to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez also raised concerns about recent data which revealed that commercial users in New York made up an outsized share of the revenue from short-term rentals and a vast majority of units violated state and local laws.  The subpoenaed data along with recent housing disputes with these companies in cities like Honolulu and San Francisco underscore the immediate need for further study of this issue. 

To follow on the concerns about economic impacts, even Secretary of State Clinton has raised some questions, saying recently: “Many Americans are making extra money renting out a spare room...This on demand or so called 'gig' economy is creating exciting opportunities and unleashing innovation, but its also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future…"

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  • Jeanine Robbins
    commented 2016-08-08 12:12:07 -0700
    The problem with short term rentals is that the majority are not “home sharing.” They are whole homes bought by property investors for the specific purpose of operating STRs. This creates not only a housing shortage but changes census tracts, voting districts, school districts, etc. by removing permanent residents from the neighborhoods. This is in addition to destroying the quality of life and sense of safety that residents are entitled to. These hotels are not compatible in residential areas.