Elizabeth Warren Joins Senators In Call For Airbnb Investigation
Photo courtesy Airbnb
A group of lawmakers, including Elizabeth Warren, have asked officials to look closely at Airbnb and its effect on the homeowner market.
Warren, a U.S. senator and reported candidate to join Hillary Clinton on the Democratic ticket, joined with the likes of senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) in a plea to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to investigate Airbnb and like services that allow users to rent out property to tourists.
Reuters cited a statement from the senators that stated: “We are concerned that short-term rentals may be exacerbating housing shortages and driving up the cost of housing in our communities.”
The statement continued, “We have also read troubling reports of racial discrimination on some short-term rental platforms.”
TravelPulse has covered Airbnb’s various issues in the past. Recently, the service negated some 2,000 New York properties from the website in an effort to stem multi-listing properties that purportedly have a lasting impact on long-term housing.
One of the other concerns is the problem of overt discrimination that takes place from property owners choosing renters on the basis of race.
TravelPulse’s Patrick Clarke wrote in May, “Many black users taking to social media claim they've been denied bookings simply because of their name or appearance.”
At the time, Airbnb's head of diversity, David King, spoke to CNN and offered, “We recognize that bias and discrimination present significant challenges, and we are taking steps to address them.”
Both issues are at the heart of a persistent question — will companies like Airbnb and HomeAway remain a quick and efficient way for travelers to lock down short-term rentals in atypical locations like homes and apartments?
The problem comes when those homes operate long-term and drive up the cost of rentals in the area drastically. Locals are essentially priced out of what would otherwise be an affordable residence option.
And the call for an investigation into the causes and remedy for any discrimination has to be paramount for any service regardless of industry.
The heat will ramp up for Airbnb to answer these very serious issues.
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