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DragonflyHill Urban Farm’s Emma Rosenthal Left These Comment to Reports on BNBs in Neighborhoods: 

Emma Writes, and you can too!

SPECIMEN #1

NBC 4 featured the following story:  Short-Term Rentals Turn Into Nightmares Next Door which features all the stranger danger, criminalizing language promoted by the hotel industry to create fear of home sharing, a common, historical and residential use of residential space. 

Emma Writes:

Airbnb has a web page for reporting hosts that cause problems in the community.
 
Landlords have recourse for enforcing breaches in leases. Airbnb cannot be a lease enforcement agent. It is an online listing service.
 
The problems listed in this report have little to do with short term rentals, and have much to do with urban life. Nuisance neighbors who have lots of parties, neighbors who filck cigarettes, people who come and go at all hours (tinder and grinder for example) are not unusual in residential neighborhoods. Problems like these should be addressed by behavior and not because they are short term rentals. We have 2 party houses on my block, and neither is an airbnb house. (And we take it in stride. We did choose to live in a city and not a more isolated environment.) We do run an airbnb house, which is also our primary residence. It is one of the quietest homes on the block, and allows a place for neighbors to host their families and friends when out of town, avoiding more distant and over priced hotels. Well run, short term listings, can be a huge benefit to a community, creating jobs and supporting the local economy.
 
There are many home based businesses in Los Angeles. Some doctors and therapists have their practices in their homes, Some people teach classes. Some offer massage or other theraputic treatments, tax businesses, graphic designers, writers, the list goes on. And all involve people “coming and going” and “strangers coming into the neighborhood.” Home sharing, which is a residential use of a residential space, is under attack because it conflicts with the hotel industry and makes excluvive residential areas accessible to “the rest of us.”
 
It’s also no surprise that the house featured in this broadcast is in the hills. The wealthiest communities in L.A. have long tried to keep the rest of us out of “their” hills and beaches, and while party houses are not unusual in the hills, it’s clear that there is a distinction between “our kind of people” and everyone else.
 
In these desperate times, efforts to make a living (full time) should be encouraged. Many people use sites like airbnb to rent out rooms in their homes, as a way of creating income, jobs for themselves and others, improving local economy.
 
The current proposed ordinance makes no distinction, in fact targets hosts who live in the home they share. Many hosts are retired elders trying to stay in their homes, in their communities. Home sharing provides vital income to allow many to keep their homes and afford rent and mortgages.
 
It’s a shame you didn’t interview any of the people who are successful hosts, and long time members of communities and instead bought into the stranger danger of exclusive enclaves and shilled for the hotel industry.
 
Stranger danger is a false issue made to have us fear each other. Statistics show, it is unfortunately the people we know who pose the most danger to us. Aside from the fact that the neighborhoods you feature in this broadcast are wealthy, there’s no other criteria for residency, short or long term and the problems you site are not unique to people on vacation. People come and go all the times in urban communities and most people don’t know all or even most of the people in their neighborhood. There are party houses througout the city and the hills are no exception, certainly by reputation alone, for big parties and wild crowds. This is Hollywood and La La Land, afterall.
 
In our bnb we have had many poeple stay with us with little or no problem. And unlike long term neighbors who are problematic, bad guests are gone at the end of their stay. On rare occasions, when problems did arrise, we were able, with the help of airbnb to have them removed earlier than their reservation’s end date. Most of our guests are extremely quiet, and often not at home, because they came to see the city. They are out site seeing, or in the case of guests here for short term work assignments, or relocating to L.A., busy with work. We’ve had surprisingly few issues, and it has challenged my fear of strangers as unsubstantiated and unfounded. It amazes me how people from all over the world, come to stay with us, and somehow we all know how to live together harmoniously.

Emma Writes:

The deplorable “data” collection method used here makes this report totally meaningless and should have rendered it a non-story.

That said, according to anti-home sharing organization LAANE, Airbnb listings proliferates in communities already impacted by gentrification. Which means that Airbnb is not the cause or the location of displacement in cities. It’s easy to blame Airbnb. It’s a lot better for those with power and money, than focusing on corrupt landlords and developers (the later of whom LAANE endorses and advocates on behalf of.) And don’t forget that hotels sit on land that was once some of the poorest neighborhoods, and certainly on land that could be used for affordable housing instead of luxury accommodations that benefit multinational corporations. Where as, the money spent on BNBs stays in the neighborhood and supports local economy.
Also, there’s really only one union that is consistently outspoken against bnb– the hotel company union. BNBs are very much a labor issue. Retired workers, including retired teachers who have taught generations of children,share their homes to be able to remain in their homes and communities. Other workers who have jobs that require them to leave home and be on location also require either short term lodging when they travel, or to be able to rent out their homes when they are away. In Los Angeles and New York, this applies to the heavily unionized film industry workers.
The overwhelming number of hosts, especially those sharing their own homes, are people who have been part of communities for years. Disparaging language like “trotted out” is often used to dismiss low income hosts who repeatedly plea to be able to continue home sharing, to keep their homes.
Housing revenue in Black neighborhoods mostly go to white property owners, investors, lenders, etc. This isn’t news, except that this article attempts to isolate Airbnb as the problem. It would be interesting to see how revenue from home sharing compares to any other revenue stream in Black neighborhoods.
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