• Vern Exile Nelson

    Hmmm…. I agree on the ban, but

    “What if gang members rent a place for their undesirable activities and turn a neighborhood into a war zone?”

    What if some new aspiring community leader took a little while thinking of how to stoke people’s fear of the underclass just to make his point?

    What if they rented out to Muslims?

  • Chiron Click

    Owner-occupied, primary-residence short-term rentals are the oldest, most well-established form of accommodations on record. By the mid-nineteenth century, scholars estimate that between a third and a half of all urban dwellers in the U.S. lived in or operated a flexible-term boarding house (Gamber, “The Boardinghouse in Nineteenth-Century America”, (Johns Hopkins University Press) 2007). Furthermore, any biblical archaeologist will tell you that the inn in the Christmas story was a private residence (possibly a cave), not a Marriott or Hilton. In fact, modern hotels were not common until around the second quarter of the twentieth century in America. Flexible-term rentals have, for millennia provided residents with a way to earn often vital income that has helped them to afford the costs of living and keep their homes. They spread tourism dollars across a variety of neighborhoods and local businesses, and offer travelers unique and authentic experiences when visiting. They also give the homeowner flexibility to use the rooms or accessory dwelling unit for another purpose at any time, whereas a long-term lease tenant or housemate takes that freedom from the homeowner.

    Airbnb offers their hosts and guests up to $1,000,000 liability and property damage. I did STR for a year, and for the first time in my life it gave me a real income stream. My guests enjoyed “living like a local” too. As far as safety, statistics from the Bureau of Justice in a 2000 study demonstrate that only 7% of juvenile assaults are committed by strangers, whereas 93% were committed by someone the child knows. It’s significant to note that hotels do not have rampant criminal activity either. Most travelers are well-behaved, especially within people’s homes and neighborhoods. Because Airbnb holds payment in escrow until transactions are complete, requires multiple i.d. checks and review feedback mechanisms that would make any bureaucrat proud, these rentals are now safer than ever before. Significantly, in terms of development, these rentals offer an alternative to controversial Tax Increment Finance Districts which were banned here in California because of their detriment to our cities. Instead, short-term rentals create grassroots economic development, spreading “tourism dollars” to local small businesses but require no new infrastructure improvements, create new accommodations tax revenue streams, no new buildings are required, existing structures are improved and preserved in the process, skylines remain the same, real jobs are created that pay well and make housing more affordable for their owners.

    If people were given the choice to approve or deny college students or any other group based on age, race or sexual orientation from moving in next-door, history shows us that far too many would say, “No.” But that is illegal, because it is the very definition of discrimination. Yet, people like the author want to prohibit travelers and homeowners form operating this traditional, well-established residential use without evidence or trial. I am not sure which hotel industry group has paid this author to write this b.s. or if he is simply a nosey neighbor who seeks to control others akin to the “guards” in the Stamford Prison Experiment, but he is wrong on every point. I’ll stop short of the accusation that he is straight-up lying. Instead I’ll simply say that he is grossly misinformed.

    • Emma Rosenthal

      I would like to like this comment, but your adhom attacks in the last paragraph are unacceptable. Shakeel is a respected elder and leader in the community. I deeply disagree with his position here, and am shocked at the number of activists that are shilling for the hotels and developers and the racist nimby neighbors who are afraid of “gang members” and other stigmatized groups from coming into “their” neighborhood.

      At the recent hearing in Los Angeles, it was clear that a very significant demographic of home sharers are elders with illnesses and dis-abilities that have no options or place within the mainstream workforce. Some of us were mocked by Unite Here members and other housing “rights” activists.

      At no point did any of them attempt to dialogue with us or recognize us as a significant demographic who also needed our housing rights defended and protected. There has been no attempt to integrate the rights of seniors on fixed pensions to determine how we share our home in order to keep our homes.

  • Jacki Livingston

    I have a question for the author. Where do you propose people stay, if they have a family and are spending a king’s ransom for a churro at the “happiest and most expensive place on Earrth”? Seriously…what is your alternative? It is easy to whine and bleat about a problem, but without a solid alternative, it is a waste of time.

  • Chiron Click

    Airbnb has up to $1,000,000 liability and property damage for hosts and guests. I did STR for a year, and for the first time in my life it gave me a real income stream. My guests enjoyed “living like a local” too. As far as safety, statistics from the Bureau of justice in a 2000 study demonstrate that only 7% of juvenile sexual assaults are committed by strangers. Not to mention that hotels do not have rampant criminal activity either. Most travelers are well-behaved, especially within people’s homes and neighborhoods. Because Airbnb holds payment in escrow until transactions are complete, offer multiple i.d. checks and review feedback mechanisms that would make any bureaucrat proud, these rentals are safer than ever. Oh yes, and owner-occupied primary residence short-term rentals are the oldest, most well-established form of accommodations on record. By the mid-nineteenth century, some scholars estimate that between a third and a half of all urban dwellers in the U.S. lived in or operated a flexible-term boarding house. Any biblical archaeologist will tell you that the inn in the Christmas story was a private residence, not a Marriott or Hilton. In fact, hotels didn’t become more common until around the 1930’s in America. STR’s provide residents with a way to earn often vital income that helps them to afford the costs of living and keep their homes. They spread tourism dollars across a variety of neighborhoods and their local businesses, and offer travelers unique and authentic experiences when visiting. I am not sure which hotel industry group has paid this author to write this b.s., but he is dead wrong on every point. I will stop short of calling him a liar, and just say, you are misinformed.

  • Emma Rosenthal

    With deep respect for much of the work Shakeel does, I have to disagree in totality with this article. Where he says ” I know of no Uber driver or an owner of a short-term rental who has
    become richer, if anything they have become poorer because the burdens
    of risk are nearly entirely transferred to them.” he may not realize that he does but both my partner Andy Griggs and I are Airbnb hosts, and we can say that we have been enriched in may ways as short term hosts, both in the financial compensation for the work we do in providing this space and in the relationships we have developed with our amazing guests.

    Los Angeles is currently considering a draconian measure that would essentially end all or most short term rentals. For hours, host after host gave similar testimony at a city hearing to the benefits of short term hosting. Many of the hosts are elders who are retired, many listed significant health conditions that limited our access to mainstream jobs. Many cited the joy that this work brings us, the resources it brings into our communities and the jobs it creates.

    The issue of taxes is totally inaccurate, as many of us pay the 14% hotel tax, which provides the city with revenue. We support other businesses and enhance our community. People working at home increase neighborhood safety because while everyone else is at work, we’re present in the community.

    The problems he sites are problems of all cities, regardless of short term or long term residency, with the exception that in the case of a short term guest, it is much easier to remove them from one’s home, than it is to remove a tenant who is similarly problematic. The process of removing a long term tenant from one’s home is expensive and cumbersome, while short term guests have no recourse if the host determines they have to leave. In the case of illegal activity, it is very difficult to remove a long term tenant, and callling the police only raises the issue of the home being used as a criminal enterprise and could result in the owner losing their home.

    In our home we have a keyless entry system, so we can simply change the lock codes. The situations that have presented themselves where that was necessary don’t meet the level of concern raised in the article. Furthermore, if you have a neighbor who allows loud parties and other disruptive behavior in their home, you have a bad neighbor, regardless the situation of people causing the problems.

    For the most part, our guests are amazing. Even the 11 students that stayed with us over spring break, while bringing a youthful energy to our home, were delightful, peaceful and respectful. Most of our guests are traveling families. Hosts have total control over who stays with them, especially if we live in the home. We have had minimal damage and theft. One guest took our ostrich egg, and another, who cancelled their stay in the middle of their trip, stole our copy of the Koran, we think as an act of hostility. That copy has since been replaced with a beautiful hard bound copy, a gift from Hussam Ayloush, and the CAIR office, and sits prominently in our living room, in front of our menorah. Three young travelers from Saudi Arabia saw the Koran and it made them feel welcome enough to request space to pray.

    We provide well paying jobs with good benefits and healthy working conditions to 2 employees who are also neighbors– jobs that would not otherwise exist. We can hope to keep our home and pay off our mortgage, something we would not be able to do otherwise, as other job opportunities have evaporated.

    Platforms like Airbnb provide support in case of emergencies and are available by phone with front end people empowered to make decisions, 24 hours a day. They already screen guests, and there is the review system, where by guests and hosts review each other. When Airbnb handles the money, we also are protected by fraud. This has taken a lot of the risk out of the work we do.

    While we had some concerns going into this business, we have not had them realized and have been astounded at the quality of humanity that chooses to stay with us. It’s an amazing job even if it didn’t pay for itself. Sacred texts call for welcoming strangers into our homes. NIMBY fears of others is the real danger.

    Emma Rosenthal
    DragonflyHill Urban Farm
    dragonflyhill.wordpress.com
    https://www.airbnb.com/users/show/18967912

    • Chiron Click

      Check my post above, please.

  • George Shaw

    Haha. Cute. For the life of me, I can not comprehend the outrage here. How many union jobs could we really be talking about!?!?! It has to be pretty freaking marginal. Why can’t we all just get along!