Syed: Short-Term Rentals, Long-Term Disaster

The roots of the new economy, also known as shared economy, lie in deceit, greater inequality and are smoke and mirrors. It only feeds the corporate coffers and denies any meaningful economic relief to the participants of the so-called new-shared economy.

Corporations like Uber and AirBnB among others are designed to further exploit the working class by misleading them to a mirage. 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.

The city of Anaheim is home to Disneyland, which brings millions of tourists whose dollars contributes to the city’s tax base, which in return creates jobs and keeps the city safe. Short-term rentals deny both. And this is why Coalition to Protect Anaheim Neighborhoods call upon the leadership to ban the short-term rentals (STRs). Here is why.

The corporations advocating STRs claim it helps people financially to make few extra dollars to pay off their mortgages or buy the things they need. This is deceptive. It does not compute the substantial risks and liabilities a STR would have to undertake in the process.

A quick search reveals many STRs woes, such as their property is rarely returned in spotless glory and often with broken furniture, not to mention the neighbors complaints that require city’s resources from police to fire to animal control among others for a peaceful resolution between the neighbors and the short-term rentals.

Additionally the owners carry full responsibility for the property and the renters has none. Often the renters, particularly the foreign renters are not fully familiar of the protocols for an emergency situation. In such cases, not only they jeopardize the rental property but the neighborhood.

Owners do not run a background check before renting their property. What if the temp renter uses the property as one nightstand? What happens if a one night or a weekend rendezvous turns into a fistfight or a shoot out? What if gang members rent a place for their undesirable activities and turn a neighborhood into a war zone?

Inarguably, among the primary responsibilities of city’s leadership is to keep neighborhoods safe. And, arguably, short-term rentals compromise the safety and the very essence of a neighborhood.

Using the adage: any which way we cut and slice the emerging short-term rental phenomenon, it will be a long-term disaster.

Short-term rentals will cause neighborhoods to become unsafe. The city will be unduly burdened to use its resources to resolve disputes and litigations. The vacant housing market will explode. The city will lose taxes hotels pay that may lead to an increase in unemployment.

The city of Anaheim cannot afford to risk its global reputation for being the home of the happiest place on earth by the very limited gains from short- term rentals that will inevitably cause long term disaster.

Shakeel Syed is incoming Executive Director of Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD).

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