New Documents Reveal Real Source of Homesharing Opposition


April 19, 2017 12:31PM

The hotel industry has teamed up with affordable housing advocates, unions, and “other progressive entities” (their words, not mine) to shut down its competition.

For the past two years, we have heard the steady drumbeat of NIMBYism (not in my back yard) by those who oppose homesharing. People have showed up at local council meetings in cities across the state telling the horror stories of the Airbnb next door. Drunken bachelor parties, nudity, debauchery, the anecdotes abound. According to them, homesharing should be severely restricted or even banned outright.

But is homesharing really such a pariah, and is the opposition to it really driven by concerned neighbors? When you peel back the layers of the onion, the real answer begins to stink.

First off is this recent report in the Tennessean, which shows that actual complaints against homesharing do not match the rhetoric. Since April 2015, there have been 975 complaints against short-term rentals in Nashville. That may sound like a high number, but it is a drop in the bucket compared to the 457,000 total complaints against homeowners citywide during that time period. So bad homesharing actors represent a mere two-tenths of one percent of all complaints.

If there really are so few actual complaints against homesharing, then where does all of this opposition originate? Well Washington, D.C., of course, the source of most manufactured crises.

Documents obtained by show that the American Hotel and Lodging Association has launched a concerted campaign against homesharing to cut out its competition. According to the leaked documents, the hotel industry has teamed up with affordable housing advocates, unions, and “other progressive entities” (their words, not mine) to shut down its competition and create a negative national narrative to rein in homesharing.

The association boasts about its ability to get New York to ban almost all homesharing and securing stringent regulations on homesharing elsewhere. The documents even reference success in Tennessee, where the hotel industry and taxpayer-funded city lobbyists have tried to kill legislation to protect homeowners’ ability to rent out their homes short-term.

Isn’t it ironic that powerful hotel industry lobbyists in D.C. are waging a local war against Nashville homeowners by attacking so-called out-of-state special interests? They should remember that anytime you point your finger, there are three fingers pointing back at you. More importantly, state legislators should remember that the “protect our neighborhoods” and “preserve local control” crowds are taking their marching orders from those same high-powered, out of touch D.C. lobbyists.