Tags: elizabeth warren | airbnb | sharing | economy

Elizabeth Warren: Airbnb a Top 'Sharing Economy' Target

Image: Elizabeth Warren: Airbnb a Top 'Sharing Economy' Target

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) delivers remarks on the first day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images). Inset: Airbnb logo.

By    |   Thursday, 13 Oct 2016 01:29 PM

Elizabeth Warren has made Airbnb a top "sharing economy" target in an effort to get more information on how the home rental site impacts affordable housing, and now she has been joined by other local lawmakers from around the country.

A coalition of officials from 13 cities in eight states called on the Federal Trade Commission in a letter this week to "help protect consumers" and "study the extent to which the (short-term rental) industry is facilitating commercial operations," according to The Guardian.

In a letter to FTC chair Edith Ramirez dated Thursday, the officials, who called themselves the Partnership for Working Families, asked the commission to "study and determine to what degree the short-term rental market consist of people or firms operating in a commercial matter."

"City leaders know our laws must evolve as internet-based platforms facilitate unprecedented change in both the short-term rental and hospitality industries," the letter states. "Simultaneously, cities are struggling to address urgent shortages of affordable housing, and there is evidence that commercial interests in the STR industry are removing residential units from housing markets and thereby contributing to even higher rent."

Warren, a senator from Massachusetts, and fellow U.S. senators Brian Schatz and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) urged the FTC in July to study the commercial impact that services like Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO, and FlipKey are having on housing inventory.

"We are concerned that short-term rentals may be exacerbating housing shortages and driving up the cost of housing in our communities," the senators said in a joint statement at the time. "We have also read troubling reports of racial discrimination on some short-term rental platforms. Furthermore, we are concerned that communities and consumers may be put at risk through violations of sensible health, safety, and zoning regulations under state and local law."

"We believe the FTC is best positioned to address this data gap in an unbiased manner and we urge the Commission to conduct a review of commercial operators on short-term rental platforms," the senators continued.

USA Today stated that an Ernst & Young report indicates that peer-to-peer listings continue to encroach on the traditional hotel market this year, with Airbnb representing 38 percent of the lodging market in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, for example.

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Elizabeth Warren has made Airbnb a top "sharing economy" target in an effort to get more information on how the home rental site impacts affordable housing, and now she has been joined by other local lawmakers from around the country.
elizabeth warren, airbnb, sharing, economy
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2016-29-13
Thursday, 13 Oct 2016 01:29 PM
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