Unlike most articles blindly debating the pros and cons of the sharing economy, Krueger claims many hosts are professionals who arbitrage by leasing or buying long-term apartments and filling them nightly as a distributed hotel. It seems the money earned hosting -- (cost_of_operation * nightly_rate * occupancy_rate) -- is greater than signing a one year lease.
I used to offer my home on weekends when I was out of town for travel. Eventually, a guest offered to pay for the full month for significantly higher than my mortgage payment (and I contemplated various ways to spend a month away)! Sadly, our co-op board discussed and decided paid nightly guests violate our policies, ending my short hosting stint.
I'm torn. I love Airbnb and have used both sides (host and guest), and I like the idea that some people can use a space more efficiently than others. I'm less worried about taking a rental unit off the market and more worried about the intangible and hard-to-quantify side effects (safety, insurance, tax enforcement, neighbors' rights, etc).
Most of the city officials we have spoken to are actually supportive of Airbnb, but there are a few that matter like Liz that do not.
From all the time I've spent running searches on the site that 90% number seems very high, but since I don't have access to the database like you I can only ask follow up questions rather than refute it.
Does this number represent unique users or simply accounts?
For those that are renting the home they live in, what's the average number of nights they make available per year?
What would you say is the percentage of the available rooms on the site that come from people who have more than one listing in a market? 40%? 50%?
For people who have more than one listing, what's the average number of nights available per year for each unit?
Will Airbnb introduce a system for removing hosts who are in obvious violation of local laws? For instance, the hosts listed in my story, where they shared 19 units between three accounts.
Don't get me wrong, I don't necessarily consider that wrong. After all it's likely a little more like a youth hostel and gives you the option to maybe meet with a pre-screened set of occupants? Making an option to meet people with similar interests, whether that's something you'd want to go for or not.
For me Airbnb always seemed covered that middle ground between Couchsurfing and Ho(s)tels.
: what ever screening the host would really do is a completely different question. But having to be approved by the host gives the host a little option to screen those who come and go.
In the end it all boils down to cities not wanting to give up the revenue stream they get from tourists, which is also reasonable since it does cost the city money to care for tourists.
I'm convinced AirBnB's position would be much stronger if they would just say "Sure we can tax rentals at X%/$ for your city! Sign this document to give us clearance to run AirBnB in your town and we'll flip the switch in our software."
Besides, most of the money that cities get from tourists they get through sales tax or indirectly through property and income taxes on tourist-supported businesses. I would be very surprised if losing the tax revenue on the hotel stay is enough to convert tourism into a net loss for the city.
If you're not a resident somewhere, you're not a constituent and the local government has almost unlimited license to tax the daylights out of you. Tourists don't vote, so slapping taxes on everything they buy gets the local government revenue without alienating any voters. My favorite is that, where I live, property taxes -- including school taxes -- are higher for second homes. That is, if you have a weekend or vacation home, you pay more for the schools your children will never attend, because you live somewhere else! But part-year residents also can't vote, so from the political standpoint it's a win-win.
AirBNB "pros" buy up yearly leases for $x and then sublease them out nightly for a monthly net of a multiple of $x. In other words, it's an arbitrage - they're taking the long-term risk of a yearly lease and gaining the short term reward of nightly rentals by tourists, for which there is strong demand, and which results in fewer hotel bookings and fewer apartments available for local residents.
And, fairly enough, it also puts that arbitrage profit into the hands of the apartment renter, not the landlord, who took the risk of putting the building up (or managing it) in the first place.
So hotels lose, landlords lose, NYC housing consumers lose, and tourists gain and AirBNB hosts gain. Fine.
SO: Rather than making it outright illegal, why not balance out some of the incentives in the name of efficiency? Hosts SHOULD be able to rent out their place when they don't live there (improved efficiency) or rent out a spare room in a multi-room apartment (also improved efficiency), but maybe limit the amount that can be charged to a proportion of rent they themselves pay? If it stops becoming a profit center then you remove the big incentive that "pros" are going for -- sopping up available units and using them solely for tourists. If my lease for an apartment is $3000/month, the max I'd be allowed to charge is $100/night.
It would change the dynamics quite a bit -- now there's zero incentive for a "pro" or landlord to go rent dozens of otherwise available apartmens to use for tourists. In fact, the landlord would go right back to preferring long-term lessors. Rather get an easy, single check per month than dozens of small and unguaranteed checks.
It would remove the profit incentive of regular hosts but still allow the rent-offset incentive.
However, it would make WORSE the imbalance between AirBNB and hotels, and demand for airbnb would increase (and supply would decrease because of fewer hosts). That said, it's not a bad thing. It would be real competition for hotels, and rightfully so -- that's AirBNB's job and the disruption they're causing. And more competition and lower prices for everyone is a Good Thing.
I'm sure I'm missing some untended consequences here, but perhaps it's a start...
People who own or lease space that they don't live in can do that. Of course, there are a whole set of regulations they have to comply with if they want to with regard to the condition, safety features, etc. of the premises they are renting out, its zoning, notice provided to those renting, taxes, etc.
Hosts that at least purport to comply with these regulations are known as "hotel operators".
Except that the other tenants get all of the negative consequences of dealing with short-term renters (noise, theft, increased risk of bedbugs) without any of the benefit.
or maybe a bit more accurately "Hosts" and "Apartment/House Owners" are not mutually exclusive sets.
Just like how eBay started as a place for people to get rid of old crap, and then evolved into a marketplace dominated by professional sellers.
In the early days AirBnb can rely on some populist good will - they're helping vacationers fill apartments, they're helping the broke college student crash in a spare room, etc. But as the professional listings increase this story becomes less and less relevant, and the more parallels can be drawn between them and traditional lodging, which makes legal and PR liabilities more and more pressing.
I've stayed in 3 AirBnbs in the last year or so, and every one of them are "professionals" - i.e., they rent the space out full time as a substantial portion of their income.
I feel there's often a lot of AirBNB-only properties listed but I'd prefer some actual numbers. If needs be, scraped myself this weekend :-)