Policy

Airbnb: Public Enemy No. 1?

Many people don't seem to be taking it all that seriously.

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New York passed one of the nation's most onerous anti-homesharing laws last year, but residents don't seem to be taking it all that seriously.

There were more than 55,000 Airbnb rentals in the Big Apple on the final night of 2016, the San Francisco–based homesharing service reports, up from about 47,000 on December 31, 2015. That made New York City the world's top Airbnb destination on New Year's Eve, despite the state law that prohibits the advertising of short-term rentals and the threat of $7,500 fines.

It was a fitting end to 2016, a year that saw more people than ever before using homesharing applications such as Airbnb and HomeAway, even as many states and cities cracked down on the practice.

Other cities have been less straightforward about it. In Chicago, short-term rentals are technically legal, but only if homeowners agree to let city inspectors search their property without warrant, for any reason, at any time. Beyond that, the homesharing ordinance passed by the Chicago City Council is so complicated as to be "literally incomprehensible," according to a lawsuit launched by some residents of the Windy City.

Efforts to restrict homesharing are often premised on the idea that government action is necessary to prevent unscrupulous landlords and careless renters from degrading neighborhoods. But that's an argument for enforcing existing anti-nuisance laws, not a reason to create new restrictions on what otherwise law-abiding residents can do with their own property. If renters—either the traditional sort or those using online platforms—are destroying property or threatening neighbors, they should be held accountable. Blanket bans on short-term rentals punish everyone in pursuit of stopping a few bad actors.

Enforcing short-term rental bans also takes police resources away from other, more important duties. Cops in Nashville, Tennessee, refused to enforce an Airbnb ordinance, saying they preferred to focus on stopping actual crime. State judges later ruled the regulation unconstitutional.

New York's ban on homesharing survived a legal challenge last year, but Chicago might not be so lucky. The city is facing a pair of lawsuits, with court dates set for later this spring.

Legislators in Florida, Indiana, Texas, and other states are now crafting laws to prohibit short-term rental bans. That poses something of a dilemma for skeptics of the use of state power to usurp local government. States should be prudent when interfering in how municipal bodies conduct business, of course, but federalism is no guarantee of liberty.

Political fights over homesharing will continue, but the best check against abusive government rules against homesharing might be to do what lots of New Yorkers did on New Year's Eve: Ignore them.

NEXT: Gun Rights Groups in California Sue to Take Away Some Gun Rights from "Retired Peace Officers"

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  1. Just as I said on the other Saturday morning article, about food foragers in Maine, it’s a problem that only government recognizes, that only government thinks only it can solve, and that is caused by government.

    Where is the harm that constitutes true harm? At most, if one recognizes a property interest in curb-side parking for property owners, then the only harm is with renters trespassing on parking spaces. But plain old visitors do the same, and so would long term renters. Whether a room or house is rented out for 30 days to one person, or to 30 people one day at a time, there’s no difference in the parking.

    Any complaint over the noise of people shuffling in and out is overblown, since owners shuffle in and out too.

    Fears of strangers nearby are shown false by asking nearby owners how many of their neighbors they actually know on a first name basis. Unless they know everyone with a block or two, I’d say they are surrounded by strangers, who by dint of permanent residence have much better chances of scouting nearby opportunities for robbery.

  2. Whether a room or house is rented out for 30 days to one person, or to 30 people one day at a time, there’s no difference in the parking.

    I’m not so sure about that. If those 30 people are all showing up on the same day, their cars are going to occupy more than one space at the curb or in the parking garage. 😛

    Of course, if the place is big enough to hold 30 people, it might also have a really big garage and/or driveway.

    1. Are you being sarcastic. He’s saying 30 people each renting different days of the month. Different people are presumably allowed no more access to the parking than they are to the apartment, which is only for their one day.

      1. 😛

      2. Not to mention even in a 1 bedroom condo with a married couple you are likely to have 2 cars so each person can get to work. How many people do you know that need 2 cars on vacation? If anything parking should be less congested because a rental unit is almost always associated with a single vehicle and a permanent apartment is usually associated with multiple vehicles.

  3. The Caviar of the South Finally Gets Its Due

    Thanks to the label, we know mayonnaise, cream cheese, and pimentos are involved, plus extra sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, spread between two pieces of squishy white bread. Beyond that, it’s secret alchemy, so much so that a 2013 vendor change caused a “Pimentogate” scandal. Tournament goers may have their favorite concession?be it the egg salad, a sausage biscuit, or peach ice cream cookie sandwich?but no other food item is more iconic than the $1.50 snack, packed in individual plastic bags, colored green like the golf club’s famous blazers (and able to blend in to the grass should a wrapper go astray). For many, it’s like “eating the South.” It’s a great moment for pimento cheese.

  4. Can the Cocktail Industry Fix Its Sexual-Assault Problem?

    he world of $20 cocktails ? with custom-carved ice, obscure rye, eye drops of bitters ? is one of glamour and generosity. It is also a young industry where, behind the scenes, hard partying and heavy drinking are the norm. And in a culture framed by hedonism, people are often too quick to dismiss or forgive harassment and assault. Rumors bubble up, then disappear, and bad behavior goes unchecked.

    In October, a site called the Reality of Sexual Assault in the Cocktail Community launched an effort to change that, exposing in detail the kinds of stories and assertions that owners and other bartenders are often wont to dismiss. The site details attacks that were allegedly perpetrated by one very prominent member of the bartending community. The site didn’t name him specifically ? in deference to the women who spoke out and made the initial decision to keep him anonymous, I won’t either, except to call him Jeff (not his real name) ? but it was easy for people familiar with the situation to connect the dots. The stories are appalling.

    My guess? No.

  5. The Wisdom of Don Rickles

    “You’re black, I’m white,” Mr. Rickles said to an audience member. “It’s the breaks.” This line is a direct ancestor of a Louis C. K. bit: “I’m not saying white people are better ? I’m saying that being white is clearly better.” The comic duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, who have rhetorical dispensation to be funny about such things by virtue of being biracial, like to palpate the touchiest spots in the American racial psyche ? playing two upscale yuppies trying out out-black each other at a soul food restaurant by ordering items like cellar doors and human feet, or slaves on the auction block getting increasingly touchy and peeved as they keep not selling. Laughter is a saner, more restorative response to the world’s injustice than self-righteous scolding.

  6. Pot is ruining Denver’s restaurant industry

    The population of Denver has been steadily growing over the past few years, but not enough of its new inhabitants want to work in the restaurant industry.

    The reason? The higher-paying jobs are in weed, man.

    New eateries are popping up all over Denver to meet the increased demand of residents and tourists, but restaurant owners claim they’re having a hard time filling their kitchens with able-bodied workers, Bloomberg reports.

    Get on this, Jeff Sessions.

  7. How a Homemade Blend Became One of America’s Most Coveted Bourbons

    To acquire the hottest bottle of bourbon at the moment, you don’t go to a store. You don’t head to a distillery either. You don’t even put your name on some secret list or enter some special lottery. What you do is convince one of your whiskey-collecting Facebook friends to introduce you to a guy named Danny Strongwater (not his real name) from Southern California.

    I first became aware of “California Gold” at a private whiskey tasting I attended this past November. All the big bottles were present?the full Van Winkle line, every Buffalo Trace Antique Collection offering, John E. Fitzgerald Very Special Reserve and plenty of well-aged Willett ryes. What wowed everyone most, however, was a squat bottle with a white HP LaserJet label adorned with blurry clipart images of stars and arched olive branches and a sticker on the neck reading “CA Gold.” Extremely rich and complex, California Gold is a secret, homemade blend of commercially released whiskeys that has become an underground sensation.

  8. New Mexico Outlaws School ‘Lunch Shaming’

    What is “lunch shaming?” It happens when a child can’t pay a school lunch bill.

    On Thursday, Gov. Susana Martinez signed the Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights, which directs schools to work with parents to pay their debts or sign up for federal meal assistance and puts an end to practices meant to embarrass children. It applies to public, private and religious schools that receive federal subsidies for students’ breakfasts and lunches.

    1. Why don’t you have Robby’s job?

      1. I’m both too masculine and too bald.

      2. Do you really want to not only unleash Crusty upon our nation’s colleges, but have him paid to be there?

  9. Utah’s First Federal Surveyor Fled the Territory Fearing for His Life

    In 1850s Utah, “no conflict created more distress than the battles over federal land surveys,” writes historian and professor emeritus at Brigham Young University, Thomas G. Alexander. For two years, Burr and his team were harassed, spied on, and accused of fraud. At the time, Burr was sending distressing reports back to Washington, warning President Buchanan that Utah’s Mormons were preparing for battle.

    Just two years after they arrived, having surveyed 2.5 million acres?a small fraction of the territory?Burr and his team fled the territory in fear for their lives, and Buchanan sent in 2,500 troops to install a new governor.

  10. Airbnb isn’t public enemy No. 1.

    Everybody that reads this blog knows that public enemy no. 1 is anything that gets in the way pf illegal immigration.

    1. Given the exchange below, I suppose I should add the following:

      ; )

  11. Why is airbnb necessary? Trespassers should be able to stay on your property without paying anyway. SQUATTERS ARE NATURAL LIBERTARIANS

    1. Violating other people’s right to make choices for themselves, like the right to decide who can and can’t use your property, is incompatible with a free society. A free society is a society in which people’s right to make choices for themselves is respected.

      Squatting and trespassing are about ignoring people’s property rights. There isn’t anything libertarian about that. That isn’t libertarianism. That’s communism.

      1. That would be sarcasm.

        1. Then I invoke Poe’s Law.

          http://tinyurl.com/7wwukg9

  12. SEIU shills for the union management and engages the membership to protest any threat to their cushy lives.
    SEIU members work in hotels.
    Airbnb is Public Enemy #1!

  13. I am using it now & it’s awesome! I’ve signed up for my account and have been bringing in fat paychecks. For real, my first week I made ?350 and the 2nd week I doubled it & then it kinda snowballed to ?150 a day! just folllow the course.. they will help you out

    ================> http://MaxNet80.com

  14. Two Explosions Kill at Least 31 at Egyptian Coptic Churches on Palm Sunday

    CAIRO ? Two explosions at Coptic churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday left at least 31 people dead and injured dozens of others as a day of worship in the besieged Christian community turned to destruction and carnage.

    Donald J. Trump
    ? @realDonaldTrump
    RADICAL. ISLAMIC. TERRORISTS ruin my golf weekend. Sad!
    4:26 AM – 9 Apr 2017

    https://tinyurl.com/k799dd8

    1. see also: non-sequitur

      1. Leave Britney alone?

        1. No.
          Fuck off.

  15. I am using it now & it’s awesome! I’ve signed up for my account and have been bringing in fat paychecks. For real, my first week I made ?350 and the 2nd week I doubled it & then it kinda snowballed to ?150 a day! just folllow the course.. they will help you out.

    =========> http://www.jobmax6.com

  16. Blanket bans on short-term rentals punish everyone in pursuit of stopping a few bad actors.protecting the profits of the politically connected hotel industry, protecting the turf of the municipal inspectors and oversight boards, and appearing to appease the complaints of high end condo owners who don’t like their neighbors renting out units to the riffraff.

    FTFY

  17. Foremost, I really like Airbnb, and during my last move the ability to find a furnished condo for a monthly rate made life a ton easier. Ostensibly, the woman I rented from was also happy to have her condo occupied for an off-peak season month.

    The real reason I am posting is to say yay to the “War on Airbnb.” Maybe this will finally convince all the big city people that more government isn’t always the answer, and that they really do like choice.

    Probably not, but we can hope.

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