In a new campaign reiterating the idea of the Airbnb as “home sharing,” the company is launching a new movement to convince residents that allowing Airbnb to continue in Los Angeles is a good idea. Inside the city of Los Angeles, there is a sleeper society referred to as the Los Angeles Home Sharing Club. There are four regional chapters: the Westside, the Northeast, the Valley, and Central LA. The purpose of these clubs is to allow home sharing families to lobby in support of home sharing. They are asking lawmakers to create “fair, sensible laws” in regards to limiting home sharing.
The new ad shows members of the four groups, many of which are of varied ages, races and walks of life. Each “interview” outlines why members support Airbnb and the general idea of home sharing. The overarching notion is that home sharing allows many families in Los Angeles to pay their rent or mortgage when they might not otherwise be able. Many speak out about how they might be unable to stay in their homes if it were not for the ability to earn extra income through rent collected by home sharing. Some even credit Airbnb’s home sharing as a new way of living, where you welcome guests into your home as your own company. Confirming the idea of home sharing as the modern version of a bed and breakfast. While this is a positive notion for those who are trying to make ends meet, it is not without its downside.
Critics say that by offering Airbnb rentals in LA, this short-term rental market is impacting the vacancy rate in the city. With current vacancy at just 2.7 percent, Los Angeles is experiencing a housing shortage. There are not nearly enough properties to meet the current demand in the city. There is additional criticism surrounding rent-controlled or designated affordable housing properties becoming profitable short-term rental properties, which violates rental laws. In other words, home owners are taking advantage of home sharing to turn a hefty profit. Airbnb guests have little recourse should their experience be less than perfect. With properties being used to generate revenue, guests do not necessarily know how many other guests will be sharing their temporary home.
As Airbnb launches their positively spun campaign, the city of Los Angeles has their own plans. New rules will limit the number of days per calendar year that a host can rent their home and the home must be their primary residence. Those homes that have been designated as affordable housing are not eligible to serve as an Airbnb. With these new regulations, hosts must also pay the 12 percent transient occupancy taxes like those paid by hotels.
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(all data current as of 5/27/2017)
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