Sharing economy: San Francisco becomes first major US city to legalize Airbnb

This may have begun as a nice person-to-person home sharing, but it has turned into home grabbing for business,’ says Judith Goldman, a Los Angeles member of a coalition called Keep Neighborhoods First. In Los Angeles, she notes, entire areas have been taken over by middlemen real estate agents who buy up the homes and run them as short-term rentals.

‘This has really reduced the stock of homes available for normal residents to rent and has turned these areas into hotel strips,’ she says.
It’s happening in cities around the country, particularly in high-priced ones such as New York, Ms. Goldman says. She works with ShareBetter, a New York coalition dealing with similar issues on the East Coast. Read full article. 

NY Report Quantifies Negative Impact of Commercialized Short Term Rentals

Where supporters of Airbnb and other rental sites see a catalyst for entrepreneurship, critics see a threat to the safety, affordability, and residential character of local communities. Are the new platforms fueling a black market for unsafe hotels? By bidding up the price of apartments in popular areas, do short-term rentals make metropolitan areas like New York City less affordable? Is the influx of out-of-town visitors upsetting the quiet of longstanding residential neighborhoods? Read full article. 

Divide Between Home Owners and Renters is Growing

Guzman has watched over the last year as the East Hollywood apartment building where she and her mother have lived for 22 years has emptied out. New owners are planning a major overhaul, she said, and offering longtime tenants – many in rent-stabilized units – cash to leave. All but four apartments are now vacant, and Guzman said she thought hard about taking the $30,000 she and her mom were offered. But she looked around, saw nothing on the market even close to the less than $900 a month they pay now, and realized that the money wouldn’t last more than a couple of years. Read full article. 

Los Angeles Will Probably Be the Densest US City in 2025

Better start building housing, Los Angeles, because it’s about to get dense(r) around here, say some new numbers out from Bloomberg (via Gizmodo), which predict that great LA will be the densest urban area in the US in 2025 with an estimated 6,450 people per square mile and a projected total population of nearly 15.7 million (the population per square mile was 4,662 in 1995). Read full article

Regulate This! The Battle Between the Sharing Economy and the Government

At issue is the so-called sharing economy, a range of services that facilitate peer-to-peer transactions through the Internet. Companies like Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft have seen rapid growth and eye-popping valuations, but as they expand around the world, they are increasingly butting heads with government regulators. Read full article. 

Airbnb’s Threat To Affordable Housing

Now, with Internet access and a few minutes to spare, any New Yorker can effectively become an illegal hotel operator. According to the New York State Attorney General’s Office, approximately two-thirds of the 19,522 New York City Airbnb units are being rented in violation of the law that prohibits apartment rentals lasting fewer than 30 days with the owner not present. Read full article. 

Will Venice Become a City of Strangers?

Just because something is profitable does not make it right. Without affordable housing, Venice can say good-bye to whatever diversity is left here. Short-term rentals, left unchecked, may turn Venice into a city of strangers. Read full article. 

What Airbnb Doesn’t Want You To Know About It’s New Lobbyists

The trouble is, nobody seems to be able to say what AirbnbNYC is supporting, or what AirbnbNYC really is, for that matter. Most New Yorkers likely assume it’s no different than plain old Airbnb, the app they’ve either used or no doubt heard about through friends or neighbors.

In fact, AirbnbNYC is a lobbying organization with deep pockets, experienced leadership and long term goals for rallying support for their war on New York’s leasing laws. And while their sales pitch may be all about the community and being a healthy part of local economies, Airbnb’s affiliates and lobbying arms have major corporate bona fides. Read full article. 

Sharing Economy Will Result in Fighting: Joe Mathews

There are so many potential conflicts — professional, political, commercial, geographic, generational — posed by sharing that I couldn’t list them here. To pick just one more: Sharing is a threat to the general plans of virtually every city. After all, what is Airbnb if not a rezoning of residential areas into hotel space? Read full article. 

Window into Airbnb’s Hidden Impact on S.F.

Although the company refuses to release numbers, a data analysis commissioned by The Chronicle  found almost 5,000 San Francisco homes, apartments, and private or shared rooms for rent via  Airbnb. Two-thirds were entire houses or apartments, showing how far Airbnb has come from its  couch-surfer origins, and contradicting its portrayal as a service for people who rent out a spare room  and interact with guests. Read full article.