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Airbnb is causing the rental crisis in Bend, OR and the US

The high cost and low availability of rental homes in Bend, Oregon are worse than in America on average, yet the problem is universal. A Bend Bulletin article written by Suzanne Roig on March 3, explains that the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development predicted Deschutes County would have a 4 percent apartment vacancy rate while the current U.S. vacancy rate is around 6 percent according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Essentially, as bad as the rental market is for tenants in Bend, it is only slightly worse than in the U.S. on average. The main factor this Bend Bulletin article and almost every other article is leaving out is how the global sharing economy companies Airbnb and Verbo are creating this outcome.

Anyone can access these sharing economy services through their websites or mobile apps and see for themselves how many short-term rentals are available for rent in Bend and across the country in every single town and city in America. Ultimately, these are potential long-term rentals that have been turned into short-termed rentals, thus creating a shortage of long-term rentals in every city and town in America, including Bend.

Considering Airbnb and Verbo hosts don’t have to comply with the same regulations to operate as hotels, nor do the hosts have to deal with any tenant rights and long-term landlord restrictions, it isn’t hard to see why many homeowners would rather make their rentals into short-term rentals vs. long-term. In addition, Airbnb hosts have the potential to make much more money each month from their short-term rentals vs. making them long-term rentals, even when the rental prices are so high.

The article explains how a Bend resident is paying around $1,400/month for a two-bedroom apartment which he has been grandfathered into, as the going price for this size of an apartment is around $1,700/month if renters can find one.

While residents of Bend and cities across America are struggling to find a place to rent and make enough money to afford the exorbitant costs, travelers have no problem finding hundreds if not thousands of Airbnb listings to choose from in these same cities.

What is amazing about the issue is the lack of reporting on it. It seems reporters, state legislators, and executive leadership of cities and states can’t put together the correlation on why rentals are so hard to find and expensive.

Maybe the impossible mystery needs common sense to be solved by someone who has been subjected to the struggles the issue creates; also, maybe there is some compromising element involved that makes a hyper-regulated country give Airbnb and Verbo a pass on regulations that similar companies have to comply with to do business, thus undercutting respectable businesses and creating unfair economic privileges to these sharing economy companies.

Whatever the reason, we can see the results and the obvious problem as we look at the rental crisis in our cities and then look at the Airbnb and Verbo websites and apps to find hundreds if not thousands of short-term rentals available without the need of complying with the same regulations as hotels.

The challenge for Oregonians and Americans is to believe the obvious despite the lack of attention it gets from our leadership, and to stop supporting these services that are causing so much harm to our communities from the bottom up.

Originally published at NewsBreak


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