November 5, 2015
The Christian Science Monitor quoted me in San Francisco Votes Down Airbnb Limits: Can Competing Interests Be Balanced? It reads, in part,
A defeated ballot measure in San Francisco, which would have imposed further restrictions on users of Airbnb and similar websites, is a sign of how the issue of short-term housing rentals is vexing city governments in the United States and beyond.
From Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Los Angeles, lawmakers and residents alike are struggling to balance the power of technological change with the many critics of the home-sharing industry: homeowners who complain about deterioration in the quality of life in residential neighborhoods, hotels that fret about lost revenues, and activists who say that short-term housing is stripping the marketplace of affordable long-term units.
Yet even some of the trend’s most ardent critics suggest that more restrictions are not necessarily the answer. Better enforcement of current laws would go a long way toward balancing the conflicting interests, they say.
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On the other coast, just as many cities are struggling. New York City is still up in the air about how to handle the sharing economy, says Brooklyn Law School professor David Reiss, who has followed Airbnb’s evolution.
This week, Airbnb promised to provide detailed data to the New York City Council, he notes. “The company is doing this in part to fend off [legislation] that would severely limit their reach in NYC,” he says via e-mail. One piece of proposed legislation increases penalties for violations of existing laws, and another mandates that the city track illegal apartment conversions, according to Professor Reiss.
Still, the sharing economy is with us for the long term as consumers continue to vote with their wallets, he says. “The bottom line is that we are in a period of transition. And while it is unlikely that we will return to the pre-sharing economy, it is also unlikely that we will have a sharing economy that is driven just by market actors, without government regulation,” he adds.| Permalink