The Great Comet (Kirch’s Comet) of 1860.
Cities Should Crack Down on Airbnb Hosts -
The apartment rental site Airbnb has agreed to provide the New York attorney general’s office with the names and other personal details of 124 of its hosts. I hope this marks the beginning of the end of Airbnb’s current business model in New York and other big cities, including Berlin, where I live.
Airbnb said most of the 124 being scrutinized are no longer listed on its site. The rest are “hosts with multiple listings,” according to Airbnb. It’s hard to know why they’ve been targeted, wrote Airbnb’s David Hantman on the company’s Public Policy Blog, “without knowing more about why the Attorney General is interested in these hosts specifically.”
That’s disingenuous: Airbnb knows full well why Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wants the information, particularly about those who have listed multiple properties for rent. In April, Schneiderman published an essay in the New York Times voicing suspicion that some Airbnb “hosts” are, in fact, “large, commercial enterprises with dozens of apartments — truly illegal hotels.” If so, said Schneiderman, they are violating New York’s 2010 law against short-term rentals in apartment buildings.
YES GOOD FINALLY
A huge proportion of Airbnb rentals are full-time short-term rentals. This is great for well-off people who want to buy up a new apartment as an investment (and pay off the mortgage using Airbnb income) but it’s terrible for everyone else. Among other reasons:
- As the article points out, Airbnb units can outbid everyone else for nice parts of town. Accordingly you end up with residents pushed out further from the downtown core. This means residents end up commuting further in worse congestion, which is the opposite of how most people want cities to look.
- Similarly, big cities often build apartments as “affordable” housing and treat big apartment complexes relatively close to transit routes as a way for middle-income types to live affordably in the city. These are exactly the units getting outbid by Airbnb investors. So the benefits of density all accrue to a few well-off investors, rather than less wealthy residents.
- These Airbnb units are generally paying residential property tax rates. Commercial rates are usually much higher (especially in fancy neighbourhoods). Seeing as local governments depend hugely on commercial property tax to fund their operations, widespread full-time Airbnb is a big hit to finances.
- Living in an apartment building next to an apartment with a steadily-rotating stream of constantly-partying tourists is obviously a suboptimal situation for anyone who didn’t sign up to live in a hotel.
- Mortgages on non-owner-occupied units are generally way more likely to foreclose. The intuition here should be pretty obvious - if you own multiple apartments, and get some bad news (e.g. a layoff) that means you can’t pay the mortgages on all of them, you’re going to prioritize the one you live in. Similarly, if something happens to your income stream from Airbnb apartments, you’re way more likely to let the bank take one back - so investors who are counting on the Airbnb income to pay the mortgage for the Airbnb apartment are risking a massive foreclosure wave (which would wipe out everyone else’s property value) in a downturn.
Basically, a ton of municipal land use regulation is set up to prevent your terrible neighbours from foisting the various impacts of their ridiculous schemes off on you. At this point, we have a pretty good idea of which of your neighbours’ ridiculous schemes are going to cause you the most trouble. And yeah, Airbnb is a pretty clear example of a scheme that has a ton of potential to hit you with a ton of downsides from your richer neighbours making themselves richer, so it pretty clearly deserves way more regulation.
(Source: high-ryanlion-flyin, via natellite)
(Source: brenthofacker, via cynicalidealist)
Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love. — Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (via observando)
(Source: vgjunk, via missambear)