By Dallin Overstreet
Home-sharing has become increasingly popular in recent years. Due to advances in technology, it has become relatively easy for a homeowner to connect with travelers looking for a spare room through Internet home-sharing platforms like Airbnb. Homeowners benefit from the extra money they can earn by sharing their homes and travelers benefit by being able to rent a room for less than a hotel would charge.
But with the great increase in home-sharing popularity, many local and state officials have started stepping in to regulate how property owners choose to use their homes.
In Kauai, homeowners can face fines of up to $10,000 per night if they let vacationers stay in their home. In Miami Beach, home-sharing carries penalties ranging from $20,000 to $100,000 for rentals shorter than six months. Some cities have just outright banned home-sharing altogether, like Detroit recently did.
These regulations and bans are detrimental to homeowners, travelers, and communities, and are also illegal under the U.S. Constitution.
With all the regulations that officials want to place on home-sharing, it would be wise to understand the good that can come from renting out your spare room. Here are just a few of the benefits that homeowners, travelers, and communities are already feeling from home-sharing:
Home-sharing helps Americans pay their bills
- In 10 of America’s largest cities, over half of Airbnb’s hosts say they couldn’t afford to stay in their homes without the extra money from home-sharing.
- 23% of hosts in New York City and Los Angeles were saved from foreclosure in 2015.
- 21% were saved from foreclosure in Oahu and 16% in Miami as well.
- In these 10 U.S. cities, the average income from home-sharing was about $6,800 in 2015.
Home-sharing provides travelers more choices and lower prices
- According to Priceonomics, a traveler can save 21.2% when renting an entire apartment on Airbnb versus a hotel. The savings is increased to 49.5% when just renting out a private room.
- Home-sharing sites like Rent Like a Champion help college football fans find places to stay when there are aren’t enough rooms in hotels when there is a big game in town.
- Sites like Airbnb and Homeaway now offer more rooms than the entire Hilton or Hyatt hotel chains.
Home-sharing helps the community and is good for local economies
- Airbnb guests usually stay longer in a city (5 vs. 2.8 nights) than tourists staying in a hotel. That translates into more spending at local business.
- In 10 of the largest U.S. cities, travelers who used Airbnb contributed on average $336 million in economic activity to each community in 2015.
- Compared to traditional accommodations, an Airbnb guest night uses 60 percent less energy, 12 percent less water, and generates a third of the waste.
Home-sharing can help with redevelopment efforts
- Glenn Odegard bought an abandoned house in historic Jerome, Arizona in 2012. It had been vacant for 60 years because a landslide had filled it with rocks and mud. Glenn restored the house while renting it out to help off-set the cost. It turned an eyesore into a community gem. Read moreabout how the Goldwater Institute helped Glenn keep renting his home.
- Airbnb guests spend 50% in the neighborhoods where they stay, and 74% of Airbnb properties are outside of the main hotel districts. This allows communities that don’t usually see increased spending from vacationers to feel the benefit as well.
As you can see, everyone benefits from home-sharing. Local and state officials should step aside and allow property owners to choose how to use their homes. States should follow Arizona’s example and pass similar laws so the benefits of home-sharing can be felt everywhere.