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How Airbnb Is A Blessing And A Curse For L.A. Renters

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It's common knowledge that the rent in Los Angeles is high, but there's some debate as to whether Airbnb and other roomsharing services have anything to do with it. According to an upcoming report from the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), Airbnb is making our rental crunch worse, L.A. Weekly reports. LAANE, a pro-labor organization, alleges that Airbnb yanks about 7,795 units that could otherwise be rented to long-term tenants off the market. These units are oftentimes in neighborhoods where demand is high, such as Silver Lake and Santa Monica. Additionally, LAANE says they found out that it isn't just renters or homeowners renting out spare rooms. Rather, it's management companies using Airbnb to rent out units or whole homes to tourists versus putting them on the market for residents. This accounts for a staggering 89 percent of the revenue generated by Airbnb in Los Angeles, LAANE says. Here's a prime example: a home in Echo Park is actually being marketed to potential buyers as an Airbnb cash cow, the Eastsider reports.

However, others feel that the sharing economy helps residents in other ways. New York University professor Arun Sundararajan and research scientist Samuel Fraiberger have their own study, Mashable reports. They looked at a car rental startup called Getaround for a period of two years. They found that the sharing economy best works for low-income consumers. For instance, a person who may not otherwise be able to afford a car may be able to if they use the car to drive Uber or Lyft. A person who ordinarily couldn't afford an apartment or home may be able to if they rent out a portion using Airbnb.

Los Angeles is currently working with Airbnb on collecting the transient occupancy tax that hotels and motels have to pay, KPCC reports. The City is also working on the limiting the number of short-term rentals available in neighborhoods such as Silver Lake.