Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Other Side Of Airbnb

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Other Side Of Airbnb

We've been living in Old Town for 15 years. Three years ago we decided to buy a bigger house on the same block. We were going to sell our old house but we have a large extended family and thought that if we could carry the costs on our old home through Airbnb (or come close enough), we could use the house for family gatherings and friend visits in order to make it economically feasible. It was working well enough to keep it going for the benefit of having our extended family all in the same house rather than scattering them through other family members houses in the D.C. area. When family visited, we ate at restaurants in town, they shopped in Old Town stores and spent their money locally. When Airbnb guests stayed in our house, they did the same. Our house can accommodate 10 people. Guests had reunions, weddings and family gatherings and rented venues in town (like Virtue Feed and Grain) for their celebrations as well as going out to restaurants in town for most of their meals.

With the added registration and taxes, we will probably just sell our old house. More than likely, a family with children will buy the house, add kids to the school system and instead of eating in restaurants they'll eat at home and not spend money as tourists would at shops in town. Large families oftentimes can't afford to pay for five hotel rooms vs. an Airbnb and will just go some place cheaper than Old Town.

I believe that the new regulations and taxes are short sighted — and labeling Airbnb part of a "disruptive economy" is contrary to the actuality.

I can understand regulating businesses that buy homes to operate as quasi hotels, but taxing people additionally who are already paying their real estate taxes and are renting their home occasionally to help with fixed costs is wrong.

Larry Traub