If you have been reading this blog, you know how critical it is for policymakers to learn about the Airbnb community and how our hosts help to make neighborhoods better places to visit and to live. In many cases, policymakers simply don’t know what Airbnb is, because they have yet to hear the amazing stories from our hosts and from our guests. But almost without exception, when community leaders and politicians learn more, they are inclined to work with us to address concerns and ensure the incredible community of Airbnb hosts can continue to thrive.
That’s exactly what is happening in communities across the globe. The two latest examples come from San Luis Obispo, California and Grand Rapids, Michigan.
In San Luis Obispo, local leaders are committed to producing new regulations that will ensure people can share their homes with travelers. Here’s what the San Luis Obispo Tribune had to say:
A group of San Luis Obispo property owners prevailed Tuesday night in their fight for permission to rent rooms in their homes on a short-term basis to travelers. The City Council voted 3-1 to create a new ordinance that will allow home-stays, or rentals of 30 days or less in owner-occupied homes…“If we ban this practice I think we are shooting ourselves in the foot from a tourism perspective,” said Councilwoman Kathy Smith.
Councilwoman Smith gets it—this activity is not just good for Airbnb hosts or travelers, this activity is good for cities. Activity facilitated by Airbnb brings tourists, money and good will to cities around the world, and the San Luis Obispo City Council has moved in the right direction for innovation and for the strength of their city.
And when city officials in Grand Rapids considered a ban on advertising short-term rentals on platforms like Airbnb, members of our incredible community worked with Peers to to voice their concern and educate policymakers. Here’s what the local news had to say about their work:
Airbnb operators and other supporters of home sharing on Tuesday, Nov. 12, submitted a petition that had more than 1,000 online signatures calling on commissioners to postpone their vote. They also want commissioners to accommodate short-term room rentals in city ordinances without charging what they consider exorbitant fees.
“What we heard over and over again was ‘delay it,'” Second Ward City Commissioner Ruth Kelly said. “We’re going to have to figure out how we might possibly change ordinances to deal with a changing world.”
Commissioner Kelly seems to understand as well—the world is changing, and the more transparent, safer, and incredibly beneficial activity fostered on Airbnb is something to be encouraged, not stopped. At the very least, communities around the world should pause before regulating in this area and should listen to citizens who are benefiting from this activity.
The work in Grand Rapids and cities around the world isn’t over, but this development shows how important it is for everyone in our community to speak out, make their voices heard and let the world know what the Airbnb community is all about. We remain grateful for your support, and we will continue to keep you posted on these pages about other developments as the sharing economy gathers steam and governments increasingly work to understand it, and to foster it.