As the number of listings continue to climb on online short-term rental websites like Airbnb, HomeAway and Flipkey, communities across the nation are growing uneasy. The concerns run the gamut, from the effect short-term rentals have on the safety and affordability of existing neighborhoods to the proper regulation and taxation of the units for rent.
(This five-part piece on the impact of Airbnb in San Francisco sums up a lot of the reservations, as does this article about Airbnb in Denver.)
Like the hotel industry, the apartment industry is just beginning to wrap its arms around how the new technology will affect its businesses-for better or worse. There are worries about lease violations and on-site security, but also potential business-boosting opportunities.
But a lack of data on short-term rentals is currently standing in the way of meaningful discussion. That is expected to change soon. In an effort to make informed policy decisions, not only are a number of state attorneys general digging into the issue, but some interested groups are using technology to cull data from the online platforms themselves. Just take a look at what www.insideairbnb.com has pulled together on nine U.S. cities.
This is a snapshot of short-term rentals in New Orleans.