Thanks to California Senator Diane Feinstein, there is a national movement to call for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate how commercial landlords using short term rental platforms are impacting housing shortages and contributing to high rents nationwide.
“Senators Dianne Feinstein of California, Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts wrote a letter to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez requesting the agency “study and quantify” the prevalence of commercial renters using Airbnb, HomeAway Inc., VRBO and other short-term rental services. The letter said activity on those sites can result in housing shortages and drive up prices.”
Feinstein, Elizabeth Warren and other US Senators are also calling for investigation into charges of race discrimination on sites like Airbnb:
Democrats Discuss Airbnb Problems…
BAD DATA: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jul/27/airbnb-panel-democratic-national-convention-survey
…But Party Leaders Boost Short Term Rentals Use During Convention
“Like Grucella, one-quarter of all Philadelphia-area hosts for this week’s DNC were new to the role. And their homes were in demand. Airbnb estimated its Philadelphia partners would welcome over 5,000 guests for the convention, a 250 percent jump from a typical week.”
“About 40,000 people are in Philadelphia for the convention, and Airbnb says 7,000 of them are using its home rental services, staying in spaces rented out by 3,000 hosts.”
Berkeley has passed up another opportunity to be a leader of policies that protect affordable housing by delaying any vote on short term rentals, even after a year of debate.
Berkeley’s next hearing on Short Term Rentals is expected to be Wednesday September 7th at the Planning Commission.
Video about Airbnb Race Discrimination:
Congressional Black Caucus On Airbnb Racism
“Members of the CBC are deeply concerned about recent reports of exclusion of African-Americans on the Airbnb platform, and we sincerely hope the leadership of Airbnb will take the issue of discrimination seriously and implement common sense measures to prevent such discrimination and ill-treatment of its customers in the future.”
More on Warren’s Call for Investigation:
“Opponents argue that Airbnb, a platform that allows users to rent out their homes to strangers, is aggravating housing crises in cities across the country by flooding markets with short-term rentals and, as a result, reducing much-needed affordable housing. While Airbnb claims that many of its users are occasionally renting out rooms to make extra cash, some experts who have studied the limited data available argue that the platform is allowing people to operate sophisticated hotel businesses while dodging taxes and other key regulations.”