We should not be deceived by the argument that allowing Short Term Lodging in a residential neighborhood will help keep the wolf from the door of some poor property owner who just needs a little extra income. I think we are more likely to see the transformation of family homes into an investment asset by speculators who know the math of jacking up rents by the day or week is a bigger return on investment than renting by the month. This is especially true in a beach community that spends an extraordinary amount of money to attract even more tourists than the city can handle now.
It has been shown that the availability of long-term housing diminishes in municipalities where the Airbnb business model moves in. It is not surprising that Airbnb is worth about $38 billion with over five million hosts all over the world. Their value depends on maintaining and accumulating more. To characterize these short-term rental properties as anything but pure commercialism is to ignore this fact. They are income-producing entities without the controls that apply to similar business platforms.
It used to be said one’s home is “their” castle. Our residential neighborhoods provide the heart of our community. Neighbors that have made long-term commitments to raising families, pay taxes, and have earned equity in the place they live should not have to watch their neighborhoods disintegrate into tourist fun zones for the sake of an easy buck.
Cindalee Penney Hall, Laguna Beach