Like most people in Canada, I'm conservative on fiscal issues, liberal on social ones and when it comes to what we do in our own homes, I'm perhaps libertarian as long as harm is not being done to those who dwell there or to our neighbours who also deserve their right to quiet enjoyment.
Airbnb (I track Airbnb, Kijiji and Craigslist rental listings here) is successful because of the demand for income in a state enforced "zero" interest rate economy where the incentive to access credit is greater than the need to manage one's balance sheet risk. It's all good if cash flow remains positive. There is nothing new or radical about Airbnb other than the technology that makes it possible to attract income from a wider network of sources. It's an inevitable outcome from the application of software and governments want their share of the private cash flow that has been drained away from the easier to tax business of commercial hotelier services.
The problem is not that Airbnb, Uber, Amazon, and all the transnational corporations have figured out a way to scrape off income from across national boundaries, but that our internal tax collection system needs to be modernized instead of the current model of punishment and reward. Long time readers of this space will recall my posts on the Automated Payment Transaction model where a micro fee of less than ±1% on every financial transaction is collected automatically at the source terminal doing away with all filing of personal and corporate income, sales, excise, capital gains, import and export duties, gift and estate taxes not to mention accountants, bookkeepers and lawyers hired to insure conformity to government agency rules since those government leviathans will disappear.
It's software folks and it's coming to a country near you sooner or later. So stop bitching about Airbnb and Uber and let loose the regulatory shackles. As Buckminster Fuller quipped: "Don't fight forces, use them."
Meanwhile the warring factions are at it:
New York Governor Cuomo signs bill that deals huge blow to Airbnb NY Post Oct 21, 2015
An investigation of Airbnb rentals from 2010 to 2014 by the state attorney general’s office found that 72 percent of the units in New York City were illegal, with commercial operators constituting 6 percent of the hosts and supplying 36 percent of the rentals.
Toronto drafting Airbnb regulations as available units soar
Globe and Mail Oct 19, 2016
Toronto city bureaucrats say Airbnb rentals in Toronto doubled from 2014 to 2015, with 9,460 rooms or entire units rented via the site that year at least once – as well as hundreds more listed on other sites such as HomeAway, VRBO, FlipKey, Roomorama, Craigslist and Kijiji. In some cities across North America, short-term rentals are allowed but licences are required and only primary residences can be used. In some places, the number of nights a year a unit can be rented is capped; in Seattle, it is 90 nights.
Neighbour complaints led Vancouver to sue over Airbnb rental
CBC News Oct 18, 2016
Chief Vancouver Licensing Inspector Andreea Toma said more lawsuits may be in the works against homeowners who are essentially running commercial enterprises in the form of black market hotel suites. The city of Vancouver wants an order prohibiting the rental of the suite for periods of less than one month.
City of Vancouver files lawsuit to shut down Airbnb host
Globe and Mail Oct 17, 2016
Although almost 5,000 listings appear on the Airbnb site for Vancouver, both city officials and Airbnb agree that the number of people who rent out units on a year-round basis is much lower.
And from Fortune Magazine Oct 21, 2016
In Berlin, Airbnb is fighting a city demand that it turn over information to help enforce a new law imposing fines of up $110,000 on people renting out more than 50% of their homes for less than two months—among the strictest regulations worldwide.
In Barcelona, Airbnb’s third-largest market in Europe, the city is imposing fines that exceed $65,000 for listings without proper licenses.
In Amsterdam city officials in April started scraping data from Airbnb and other short-term rental websites to root out illegal hosts because Airbnb will not turn over details on violators.
In Los Angeles, a study by the pro-labor Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy found that property owners with two or more listings generated 44% of all Airbnb revenue in Los Angeles.
In New York City, the state Attorney General found that, between 2010 and 2014, more than 300,000 Airbnb reservations violated the law, representing about $304 million in booking revenue, with about $40 million of that going to Airbnb.
Airbnb Home Rental Nightmares
Before you build Airbnb into your investment plans
here is Hilliard MacBeth with
Is Canada's Economy on the Verge of a Financial Crisis?
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middle men disappear?