Warren joins call for Airbnb probe
Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Brian Schatz (Hawaii) asked a federal agency on Wednesday to examine the prevalence of commercial websites such as Airbnb that facilitate short-term housing rentals."In order to assess the use and impact of the short-term rental market, we need reliable data on the commercial use of online platforms," wrote the senators in a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. "We believe the FTC is best positioned to address this data gap in an unbiased manner and we urge the Commission to conduct a review of commercial operators on short-term rental platforms."
The letter, led by Schatz (D-Hawaii), was also signed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).Critics have accused Airbnb and similar services of not doing enough to police operators who use their platforms to run larger-scale commercial lodging businesses, as opposed to individuals simply putting their home or room up for rent. The lawmakers are asking the FTC to investigate the scope of this practice on home-sharing platforms."On one hand, these firms have sparked innovation, increased competition, and have provided new means by which our constituents can earn extra income," they said."On the other hand, we are concerned that short-term rentals may be exacerbating housing shortages and driving up the cost of housing in our communities."...MORE