What effect are online hospitality marketplaces like AirBnb, Vrbo and HomeAway having on the housing market?
A new report from the Urban Land Institute details a battle between the firms and local communities who blame them for reducing tax revenue, a rise in housing prices and overall chaos in certain neighborhoods.
Additionally, municipalities from New York City to Los Angeles have undergone measures to regulate these accommodation sharing sites, which are not subject to the normal regulations and fees of traditional hotels.
“The rapid expansion of short-term rental platforms has spurred many cities to adopt new regulations to mitigate the loss of long-term rental units, and to address more localized concerns such as the increase in transient residents and local spillover effects,” Ingrid Gould Ellen, Paulette Goddard Professor of Urban Policy and Planning at NYU’S Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service told ULI. “The responses run the gamut from outright bans, to caps on the number of units or nights, to an array of taxes and fees.”
In New York City, Airbnb has been locked in a battle with city officials. The city seeks to slow home-sharing practices, and claims that they aggravate the city’s already critical housing crisis as well as posing numerous safety risks by letting people transform homes into “illegal hotels.”
Last December in Los Angeles, the city council passed legislation allowing Airbnb hosts to only rent out their primary residences, defined as the place where the host lives for more than six months of the year. The law also limits hosts to home sharing for 120 days per year, unless given special approval from the city.
In tourism-friendly Las Vegas, short-term rentals have been an issue, as neighbors have complained rentals turn into “party houses” and infringed on the quality of life in the community.
Short-term rental platforms like Airbnb say they generate substantial economic benefits for both hosts and communities, A 2019 Airbnb survey found that the company’s host and guest community generated over $33.3 billion in estimated direct economic impact in the U.S., and hosts have earned over $65 billion.
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