Mayor Eric Garcetti’s response to L.A. residents upset by disruptive, Airbnb-style operations next door has been to create a “whistleblower” program. Violators are sent a warning from city treasurer Antoinette Christovale that they may be liable for hotel taxes, and to contact the Department of Finance, which sent out an unknown number of such warnings last year. It’s an odd enforcement system, since officials depend on violators to turn themselves in, and Finance is trying to collect taxes on an activity that’s probably illegal.
Davos Man, take note: the technology that has enriched you is moving too fast for the average Joe. Expect more push back on sharing economy companies that skirt local regulation, a greater focus on the monopoly power of mammoth tech companies, and closer scrutiny of the personal wealth of tech titans themselves.
The debate surrounding the legality of Airbnb—the home-sharing start-up that has turned into a global phenomenon—reached New York’s City Hall this week. At a city council oversight hearing Tuesday, groups on both sides argued whether the short-term rental business is good for the region.
Whether an extra bedroom or empty seat in your car, unused space forms the backbone of the “sharing (for profit) economy.” But while certain home- and ride-shares spent 2014 making billions and trending so high on the SEO-meter that the term “Uber Fatigue” now exists, one area that seems built for this capitalistic repurposing is still surprisingly under-hyped: parking.
At a raucous New York City Council hearing that pitted affordable housing advocates against proponents of the so-called sharing economy, city lawmakers on Tuesday railed against an expanding short-term rental market that they said was teeming with abuse and neglect and undermining low-income New Yorkers.
A city council hearing on Tuesday is shaping up to be a wide-ranging face-off over the pros and cons of short-term apartment rentals. Before the hearing even starts, Airbnb supporters and opponents are set to hold dueling rallies outside City Hall.
The sharing economy’s “de-professionalization” of goods and services also creates consumer protection concerns: rentals on AirBnB do not need to meet hotel fire standards,Lyft drivers do not need city certification or licensure, and community chefs on Kitchensurfing have no obligation to follow local health regulations.
If you’re one of the dozens of Bethesda or Chevy Chase residents renting out space using Airbnb, you’re violating Montgomery County’s brand new zoning code. According to County Councilmember Hans Riemer, Council staff attorneys raised the issue after the Council passed the new zoning code last year. On Tuesday, Riemer introduced a zoning text amendment that would allow “all forms of short-term rental and residential use.”
What does it mean to own property? Are app-based lodging and transportation services showing the way toward an enlightened age of the Sharing Economy or simply enabling a kindler, gentler gentrification? Can I crash at your parents’ house in Boca for 70 bucks a night? As Airbnb expands its presence in Florida, such are the stakes in our state’s looming fracas over short term rentals.