Growing pains for the ‘sharing economy’ model: New York residents fight back against Airbnb renters

Airbnb NYBusinesses like Airbnb are part of something called the sharing economy, ridding consumers of the needed to buy, buy, buy and teaching us to share instead. As you can imagine, this new model disrupts our current system as well as all of the legalities surrounding it. And now a vigilante group of residents in Stuyvesant Town, New York is fighting back.

According to the New York Times, renters and homeowners have been searching Airbnb to find neighbors that are renting out their spaces to vacationers using the site. The peer-to-peer rental site isn’t fully to blame: this particular area of New York has been plagued by social clashes between long-time and newer residents, but it’s being highlighted by the increased freedom Airbnb has given a younger generation to do what they please with the apartments they rent.

Those taking issue with what sites like Airbnb, Roomorama, and Homeaway are doing are upset about simple things like noise, mess, and bed bugs, but also about safety. Residents are upset about strangers who say they’re staying the weekend and need into the building. While platforms that facilitate these interactions warn against putting your neighbors into this position, there’s hardly a guarantee it can be avoided.

Unfortunately there’s no simple answer in site just yet. Collaborative consumption is changing our economic landscape quickly, and the powers that be are the ones that need to adjust along with us. Uber recently had to fight to keep its business up and running in Washington D.C. after rules regarding taxis and town cars attempted to put it out of business. Of course, cutting out all legislative middle men clearly won’t work, so new regulatory bodies will need to help replace some of the safety nets that p2p sharing is cutting.

At the same time, Airbnb needs to tread carefully. Inciting war with local communities could become a major thorn in its side. Last time I took a look at this issue, I asked Airbnb how it approached the issue of illegal subletting. Plenty of rooms for rent on the site are made available by renters who are not allowed to make money giving up their rooms for the weekend, whether they’re ignoring that clause of their lease or unaware of it. Of course this isn’t Airbnb’s fault or problem and if someone gets in trouble for it, Airbnb is entirely off the hook. It seems that this situation will be given the same treatment: hoards of angry neighbors are a casualty of this market, and it’s irresponsible users of the site causing them, not the site itself. But if the problem becomes big enough, then a response will be warranted.

In the meantime, legislators and business bureaus are starting to work with companies like Airbnb to find common ground in establishing this economic model — but that doesn’t stop the residents of Stuyvesant Town from feeling growing pains.

Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.

Apple Mac users should take a bite out of these awesome games

Contrary to popular belief, there exists a bevy of popular A-list games compatible for Mac computers. Take a look at our picks for the best Mac games available for Apple fans.
Smart Home

These awesome treehouses will make you question life on solid ground

Check out these truly awesome treehouses from around the world. From a three-story treehouse in the Costa Rican jungle to a mirrored cube hidden among the trees of Sweden, we’ve got you covered.

Save energy and money with a $45 discount on the Nest smart thermostat

If you were looking for a smart thermostat, Amazon is offering up to $45 in savings on the popular Nest Learning Thermostat. Use stainless steel thermostat to the keep your home warm and cozy this fall and save energy by scheduling the…
Emerging Tech

Keep your holiday gift list high tech and under budget with these gadgets

Modern technology doesn't always come cheap, but there plenty of premium devices that don't carry a premium price. Whether you're looking for a streaming device or a means of capturing photos from above, our list of the best tech under $50…
Product Review

Philip Hue’s versatile outdoor light strip makes drab yards, holiday decor dazzle

Philips Hue fans can at last enjoy the brilliance of this weatherproof light strip, which offers simple, versatile positioning, a rich selection of 16 million color options, and bright, vibrant illumination.
Smart Home

Softly spoken interactions with Alexa now possible with new Whisper Mode

Amazon's Whisper Mode for Alexa has gone live, so now you can talk more softly to Alexa and it'll respond in kind. The feature will most likely come in handy around napping babies or for bed partners you don't want to wake.
Smart Home

Add some nature to your tech with Mui, a wood panel that’s also a smart display

Are you so immersed in technology that you long for a touch of nature in your home? You could get some potted plants -- or you could invest in Mui, a wood panel that is also an internet-connected smart display.
Smart Home

One in 10 smart home device owners report unresolved technical problems

According to a recent survey from Parks Associates, more than one in 10 consumers report they have experienced technical errors with their connected devices that have yet to be resolved.
Smart Home

New Nuimo Click gives one-touch control over smart home devices

Berlin-based technology company Senic has announced the Nuimo Click, a smart switch that harvests kinetic energy to power itself without the need for cables or batteries. The Nuimo Click will begin shipping in December.
Smart Home

SiriusXM, Amazon team up for two Echo Dot deals with freebies

Amazon and SiriusXM partnered on two joint promotions. New SiriusXM subscribers can receive a free Amazon Echo Dot. People who already own an Echo device can sign up for new SiriusXM subscription with the first three months free.
Emerging Tech

A Fitbit for your cat shit: Automatic litter box tracks your kitty’s health

It may look like a sci-fi teleportation chamber, but Footloose is a high-tech litter box that promises to be the most cutting-edge way for your kitty to take a dump. Here's how it works.
Smart Home

Angee’s security service switches from sales to subscriptions

Angee, a successful startup that raised nearly half a million dollars for its home security hub, has pivoted its business model to offer its home security platform as a subscription rather than a smart home product.