Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Home-Sharing

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Home-sharing, a centuries-old American tradition of homeowners allowing visitors to stay in their homes rather than in hotels, has been made more efficient by online platforms like Airbnb and Homeaway that enable homeowners and travelers to connect better than ever before. In addition to helping homeowners earn money to pay their mortgages and giving consumers greater choices at lower prices, home-sharing represents an important way for property owners to exercise their basic right to choose whether to let someone stay in their home — a right the Supreme Court has called “one of the most essential sticks in the bundle of rights that are commonly characterized as property.”

However cities nationwide are cracking down on home-sharing, thus violating fundamental constitutional rights, imposing arbitrary searches on homeowners and guests, discriminating against non-residents, subjecting homeowners to astronomical fines, and penalizing responsible home-sharers in order to eliminate the problem of a few bad actors.

Christina Sandefur, who is often involved in litigation protecting the rights of responsible home-sharers nationwide, will survey some of the most egregious home-sharing regulations; explain how these restrictions, while aimed at the use of property, actually infringe upon other constitutional rights; and propose an alternative way that cities can address legitimate nuisance concerns without depriving Americans of fundamental freedoms.

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