Effects of Home-Sharing Websites

shutterstock_222966544Hotels, motels, rentals and bed and breakfasts are well known, but there is a new way to stay when you travel. Home-sharing websites are allowing regular people to share their homes with strangers who are looking for a place to stay. Check out the advantages and disadvantages of these home-sharing websites.

What Do These Sites Do?

Sites like Airbnb, HomeAway and FlipKey are places you can go to find, list or rent atypical lodging. Instead of staying in a big expensive hotel or a bed and breakfast, you share a home with someone. The person who owns the home is your host, and you are their guest. If you are a host, you can do this every once in a while to make a little extra cash, or you can do it more often.

What Are the Advantages of These Sites?

There are a few advantages of these types of sites for both the hosts and the guests. The most obvious advantage, if you choose to be a host, is money. However, the majority of advantages are for the guests. Rental housing on these sites is usually cheaper than comparable hotels, so guests can have a wonderful experience without spending as much money. Plus, these sites offer rentals in many countries, so travelers can span the globe for less. Another advantage is that they get to stay with someone who knows the area inside and out. Instead of trying to find something fun to do, they can simply ask their host.

What Are the Disadvantages of These Sites?

There is, however, one huge disadvantage to these sites. A few hosts are using their rentals as full-time rentals. Instead of serving as a home to a local resident, the home instead serves as a rental property, which takes it off the market because who would sell a home that is making them tons of money? This means that fewer people can purchase property within the city. There is a new law in San Francisco, enacted February first, that is striving to help solve this problem. The law states that the hosts must be full-time residents in the home, whole-property rentals are capped at 90 days a year, and the hosts must register with the city, but few have registered.

A good community relies on homeowners who genuinely care about their neighborhood. If your community has too many shared homes, however, you’ll see a lot of short-term renters who don’t have the same passion for your neighborhood.

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