The Problem with Commercialized Short Term Rentals

Excerpts from article referenced above credited to

A disproportionate number of rentals belong to commercial users who do not occupy their multiple property listings. Lack of enforcement allows these commercial ventures to wear down the economic and social fabric of residential neighborhoods in a variety of ways.

Here are the realities that the optimistic propaganda of the “sharing economy” leaves out:

1) Commercialized short-term rentals make it impossible for most families to live in their current neighborhoods

2) Illegal short-term rentals attract disruptive visitors. The influx of out-of-town visitors upsets the peaceful enjoyment of long-standing residential neighborhoods. Short-term renters have no stake in the community, and therefore no reason to care how the neighborhood around them suffers from their vacation activities. Zoning code laws keep hotels out of residential neighborhoods, and exist to accommodate the inevitable disruptions of tourism. Illegal short-term rentals ignore zoning restrictions and make virtually any residence into a hotel/party house. One creative traveler made his Airbnb rental the site of an orgy.

 3) Commercialized short-term rentals are frequently operated without paying taxes that benefit the surrounding communities. Illegal short-term rentals are unfair to the hotel industry and hotel workers: commercialized short-term rentals rarely follow fire and safety codes, provide worker benefits or pay transient occupancy taxes.


4) Commercialized short-term rentals break city laws with impunity. Airbnb did not become a multi-billion dollar company by facilitating true home sharing. This false impression is part of a carefully calculated misinformation campaign. In reality, short-term rental platforms make enormous profits from turning a blind eye to illegal, commercialized short-term rentals. Airbnb puts the responsibility to figure out the complicated maze of zoning codes and other municipal requirements squarely on the backs of the inexperienced and uninformed residents using its services. Airbnb is now 10th in total lobbyist spending for the lodging/tourism industry, and they fund organizations dedicated to limiting regulation of these destructive practices.