San Francisco’s Escalating War on the Sharing Economy

As many cities adapt and embrace the sharing economy and concepts like home sharing, other cities, like San Francisco and New York City, insist on stifling it.

Recently, San Francisco imposed new regulations requiring all hosts in the home sharing service, Airbnb, to pay a fee and register with the city.

Those who failed to comply by the January 16 deadline had their listings – nearly 4,500 – eliminated from Airbnb.

As a result, nearly half of San Francisco’s original 11,000 Airbnb listings have been purged from the site.

Sadly, these restrictions on the sharing economy limit opportunities for many young people traveling to the Bay Area.

Home sharing regulations also prevent young Bay Area residents renting their living spaces for extra income from getting ahead.

Paying the Bills

San Francisco consistently ranks as one of the most popular tourist destinations and one of the most expensive cities to live in the country.

Nearly 31 percent of San Francisco millennials, citing cost, opt to live at home with their parents.

A recent study by the Bay Area Council also found a whopping 46 percent of millennials are looking to leave the region, again largely due to cost of living.

While restricting Airbnb’s operations will not magically resolve San Francisco’s housing crisis, it will make things more difficult for young people traveling and living in San Francisco.

Regulating Away Opportunity

By limiting the sharing economy, regulators constrict choices in the marketplace and stifle the entrepreneurial spirit of young Americans.

Home sharing services like Airbnb fill a demand in the market by connecting residents and property owners with consumers looking for a place to stay.

Home sharing also provides an outlet for young people to make extra money and afford the high cost of living in major cities like San Francisco.

By implementing burdensome regulations on home sharing platforms, government regulators limit opportunities for young Americans to create value in their communities and contribute to America’s economic growth.

It’s a shame that cities like San Francisco, a hub for tech entrepreneurs and start-ups, would choose regulation over innovation.

Instead, cities should embrace the sharing economy and work with tech companies to create further economic growth and value for residents and travelers alike.

Author Generation Opportunity

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