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Several Well-Financed Firms Have Now Gone into Competition with Airbnb, Supplying You with Alternatives for Renting Low-Cost Apartments

     By now, has become a "household word" in travel. Most Americans are aware that the bearer of that name is today valued at billions of dollars, and that its inventory of low-cost apartments for short-term rental is perhaps larger than the world's total number of hotel rooms.  Multitudes use Airbnb for their accommodations when they travel, and large numbers of persons owning apartments now earn a sizable yearly income renting them out to transient visitors.
     But the very success of Airbnb has brought it into conflict with law enforcement authorities.  Some state attorneys general claim that most Airbnb rentals violate the law of their jurisdiction. (The rules of several large cities and a number of states prohibit the short-term rental of apartments unless the owner of the apartment remains in residence throughout the period of the rental—which few of them do). Others claim that Airbnb is removing large numbers of apartments from the stock of housing available to permanent residents; the dramatic argument is that Airbnb has worsened the housing shortage in many large cities.
     And thus, the problems encountered by Airbnb—the lawsuits or other actions brought against them—have, until now, persuaded other large companies to stay away from the short-term rental of vacation apartments. One of the largest hotel-rental firms—the popular—has openly stated that it was once hesitant to begin renting apartments because of the fear of legal difficulties. 
     Those fears have apparently now been overcome. So great is the amount of business transacted by Airbnb that has concluded it can no longer stay out of that business—regardless of the regulatory problems. Without issuing so much as a short press release announcing the change, has added a new department to those listed on its main menu page, a department offering "homes & apartments." And therefore, is now available to those many travelers who are anxious to rent a low-cost apartment on their next trip, but are hesitant to use It is possible—I have no way of knowing whether this will be the case—that will be careful to limit its apartment services to the entirely-lawful rental of a spare room in an apartment whose owner remains in residence throughout the stay.
     It is also clear that—another giant in the rental of vacation accommodations—has also begun adding apartment rentals to the large stock of vacation homes that it has been making available to travelers for many years.
     I am noting these developments—these alternatives to—despite my own personal belief that regulatory agencies should sharply limit the pressures they have brought against Airbnb. I fully agree that they should move against persons who are, in effect, operating illegal hotels by making multiple apartments available on a continuous basis throughout the year. That activity does reduce the housing stock available to permanent residents. But there are a large number of people who supplement their incomes by only occasionally moving out of their apartments and making them available to transient visitors. The latter persons are simply making what should be a wholly legal use of an asset they own. They are not operating "illegal hotels." 
     I also know, in particular, of several young persons who occasionally move out of their apartments and go to live with a friend, in order to earn additional income. These occasional rentals should be entirely legal, as they pose no threat whatever to a community's need for peranent housing. I know of other persons who rent out their apartment when they themselves go on vacation, and thus make a wholly-innocent use of housing that would otherwise lie empty.  They are not operating "illegal hotels."
     Whatever your own views, you might keep in mind that you can now seek out such low-cost apartments for your own next vacation, by contacting such wholly reputable organizations as and, that have now decided to compete against
Photo credit: kinetoskop/Flickr