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Protecting Your Right to Share Your Home

Bans on home-sharing deprive people of their fundamental right to safely use their property as they see fit.

Bans on home-sharing deprive people of their fundamental right to safely use their property as they see fit.

Click here to read the Goldwater Institute’s model legislation to protect home-sharing. 

The sharing economy creates new economic opportunities by connecting property owners and travelers through Internet home-sharing platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway. States should embrace these new opportunities and give homeowners a shot at living the American Dream.

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 their homes without the extra money earned from home-sharing. Thirteen percent would have faced foreclosure.
  • In New York City, 76 percent of Airbnb hosts use home-sharing income to stay in their homes.
  • Homeowners spend 55 percent of their Airbnb income on regular household expenses like mortgages, bills, and groceries.

Home-sharing offers travelers more choices and lower prices

  • According to Priceonomics, home-sharing rentals cost travelers about 21 percent less than staying at a hotel.
  • Love college football? You’re not alone. Each year, millions of Americans want to travel back to their alma maters to watch the big games. But in many communities, there aren’t enough hotel rooms, B&Bs or RV parks to accommodate visitors. Home-sharing sites like Rent Like a Champion help college football fans find a place to stay so they can cheer on their team in person.
  • During the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, hotel space was so scarce that the Mayor considered allowing people to sleep in public parks. Thanks to the newly formed Airbnb, locals were able to offer extra rooms to the hundreds of thousands of attendees needing a place to stay.

Home-sharing is good for local economies and better for the environment.

  • Airbnb guests typically stay longer in a city (5 vs. 2.8 nights) than tourists staying in hotels. That means more spending at local business.
  • Airbnb guests spend 2.1 times more in the local community than typical visitors.
  • 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 at no cost to the government.

  • In 2012, Glenn Odegard bought an abandoned house in historic Jerome, Arizona, that had stood vacant for 60 years after a landslide filled it with rocks and mud. Because he could recoup his costs by renting to visitors, Glenn lovingly restored the home to its original historical condition, earning him a feature on the cover of Arizona Highways Magazine. This new home-sharing rental turned an eyesore into a community gem—at no cost to taxpayers. Read more about how the Goldwater Institute helped Glenn keep renting his home.
  • Fifty percent of Airbnb guest spending is in the neighborhoods where they stay, and 74 percent of Airbnb properties are outside the main hotel districts. That means neighborhoods that don’t always get the benefits of hotel districts can be improved too.

Local officials are making renting out your home a crime.

  • In Kauai, homeowners face fines of up to $10,000 per night if they let people stay in their homes.
  • In New York, state people who let guests spend the night in their apartments face $1,000 fines.
  • In Nashville, only 3 percent of properties city-wide can be non-owner-occupied home-sharing rentals.
  • In San Francisco, Airbnb and HomeAway are forced to turn homeowners over to the cops if they list their homes for rent on their websites.

Banning home-sharing destroys the sense of community.

  • Banning home-sharing rentals turns neighbors into spies, peering over backyard fences to see whether visitors are home-sharers or just relatives visiting for the night. That’s one reason San Francisco voters recently rejected a proposed home-sharing ban.
  • Cities don’t outlaw backyard barbecues just because some get noisy, or prohibit all graduation parties because guests sometimes take up parking spots on the street. Instead, cities rely on existing rules to limit noise, enforce parking restrictions, and deal with other nuisances.

Enforcing home-sharing rental bans is expensive and takes police away from real problems.

  • Last year, the city of Santa Monica, California estimated that it would cost nearly half a million dollars to staff a full-time anti-home-sharing task force for just one year. In that year, they caught only one homeowner and were able to recover just $2,500 in fines.
  • Police in Hawaii have been dispatched to the beach to grill tourists about where they are staying. Shouldn’t we be using police to keep us safe from real criminals, not cheaper vacations?

Local regulations, not home-sharing, are causing the cost of housing to go up.

  • Cities often makes it practically impossible to build new housing, through complicated regulations, costly delays, and hefty fees whenever developers seek permission to build.
  • The National Association of Home Builders reported a 30 percent increase in the cost of complying with regulations in the past five years.

The Goldwater Institute is defending home-sharing from coast to coast.

Bans on home-sharing deprive people of their fundamental right to safely use their property as they see fit and punish people for exercising their free speech rights to share information. But states can protect quiet, clean, and safe neighborhoods while respecting property rights and encouraging economic growth.

  • The Goldwater Institute’s Property Ownership Fairness Act lets government restrict pollution, nuisances, or other harmful uses of property, but bars officials from taking away an owner’s right to build, renovate, or rent unless the government pays for the rights it takes away. Download our report and model legislation.
  • Arizona’s home-sharing law ensures cities cannot make responsible property owners into outlaws simply because they allow guests to stay in their homes. Cities can still enforce nuisance rules that protect quiet, clean, and safe neighborhoods, but they can’t impose one-size-fits-all bans on home-sharing that cause more problems than they solve. Read more about the law and download our model legislation.
  • Read about some of the nation’s the most egregious home-sharing restrictions and the ways they violate critical constitutional rights in the article, “Turning Homeowners into Outlaws: How Anti-Home-Sharing Regulations Chip Away at the Foundation of an American Dream.”
  • Learn about why private property is essential to personal well-being and fostering a vibrant economy and what we can do to restore respect for the most fundamental of all rights, the right to ownership, in the book Cornerstone of Liberty by the Goldwater Institute’s Timothy and Christina Sandefur.

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