Letters to the Editor

Airbnb works with cities to protect homeowners

Re the Aug. 3 opinion piece, “Can’t find affordable housing in Miami? Maybe Airbnb and HomeAway are to blame:” Few issues generate more local conversation — or ink in the Herald! — than that of short-term rentals. Platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway have become popular forms of supplemental income for more than 10,000 Miami-Dade residents.

The County Commission will soon consider regulations for short-term rentals throughout unincorporated Miami-Dade, where 60 percent of Airbnb listings are simply extra, unused rooms in the host’s primary residence. Commissioners have granted our hosts a seat at the table for these discussions, and we’re hopeful to achieve fair regulations that protect Miamians’ rights to share their own homes.

Miami Homes for All opinion piece alleged that short-term rentals make housing less affordable. While we support the organization’s commendable mission, this particular assertion is misleading and inaccurate.

The Herald’s own Politifact platform has even weighed in to debunk such allegations. Airbnb whole-home listings account for only 0.7 percent of Miami-Dade County’s 1 million housing units. For all the passion and media attention, the short-term rental presence in South Florida is tiny.

Airbnb has partnered with cities such as Chicago, New Orleans, and Los Angeles to help them creatively use new home-sharing tax revenue for important social causes, such as funding programs for homeless support or affordable housing. We fully support replicating those successful models in Miami-Dade.

We owe it to the people of this county to set the cynical rhetoric aside and pursue common-sense rules that protect this economic lifeline for so many Miamians.

Tom Martinelli,

director of policy,

Airbnb Florida,

Miami

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