City of Tuscaloosa cracking down on residents who use sharing economy tool AirBnb
Matthew Tosh at http://flickr.com/photos/33107978@N02/6271017579
So you’re a fan of the University of Alabama football team living in Springfield, Mo, and you really want to see them play in the 2016 season. Life is short, on your bucket list is to see Alabama play at home, in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Now arrangements for any out of town trip can be difficult.
Your trip is Nov 12. Alabama will be playing Mississippi State in Bryant-Denny. The football team is heavy favorites; everyone expects Alabama to win. Stub hub has the average ticket price starts at $70 apiece, and you are taking your ex-wife and your four children who you have indoctrinated into Crimson tide fans. This is a bucket list trip you’re going to pay $170 per ticket so you’re not in the nose bleed section.
First you have to decide how you are going to get to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the location of Bryant-Denny Stadium. Are you going to fly in a plane, or catch a train or bus? You might even rent a car or bring your own. You are going to drive and it’s going to cost about $250. Your running total is $1,270.
Next you have to decided where you are going to stay. Obviously you can’t just drive all the way to Alabama and come right back to Springfield after the game, it’s an eight-and-a-half-hour drive by car. After the game your family will be too exhausted to travel. So you look for nearby hotels and they are completely booked. Sheesh. The ones that are not booked are really far away. Also the hotels are really expensive. A two-star hotel in Tuscaloosa, one bedroom, will go for $159. You have to stay somewhere; your family can’t travel all the way to Tuscaloosa to be homeless. So you decide you can cram everyone in a two-person room for $180 for one-night. Your total is now at $1,450.
Still you need worry about parking, dinner and memorabilia like a jersey, and the experience of Alabama downtown after a win. Remember you are only doing this once.
The ex-wife you never should have left, tells you about a site called AirBnB, where someone will rent out their entire two-bedroom house to you at $350 a night and the house is walking distance of the stadium. If you book one night, it will cost you $580. Two night at S982. “That is a hell of a deal,” you yell back to your ex in response. For one you are going to cut out hotel fees, dining fees because you will have a home and a stove so you can cook frozen cheaper food and it’s in walking distance of the stadiums.
You call the renters on the phone and gossip like middle school girls about your favorite team. And he has an even better deal. He is a season ticket holder and he has got six closer seats for you and your family. Plus, you talk him down 25% on the rental price with the condition that you stay two nights. OH MY GOD!!! New total with free tickets, plus the car drive and the two night stay along with food. $1,036. No hotel parking fees, no transportation to stadium fees, no parking near the stadium fee. All you need to do is get there.
So you’re excited and you make your plans. Then about a week before the game your renter calls you back and says that he can’t rent to you. The city of Tuscaloosa is cracking down on home rentals, especially from site’s like AirBnb. The city has notified your new Snapchat best friend that the will issue a them a fine for renting their home.
That is what is happening in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The city of Tuscaloosa is fining people for using social media to rent out their homes or Alabama football fans. Even though the renters never use Alabama likeness in their ads or say they are affiliated with the school, the city is going to crackdown on this practice.
There is a logical reason why. Those practices hurt the local economy. Alabama plays seven home games throughout the year. Local business like; hotels, cab companies, parking lot owners, mom and pop shops, restaurants, bed and breakfast, all make the bulk of the year’s income during those seven home games, on those seven weekends. If people are coming to Tuscaloosa making private deals and avoiding all of those places, then it really hurts. It hurts the city that has invested in those businesses, and the taxpayers who dollars were spent on the creation of the hotels and downtown Tuscaloosa traffic.
Yet the fine hurts the Tuscaloosa home owner too. That person has a mortgage, car note, kids to send to school. That person needs the money just as much to keep living.
When Alabama plays football especially since Nick Saban has been the head coach (2007), those homes are worth far more. Nick Saban has coached Alabama to four National Championships. So now it hurts the everyday man or women, trying to access a higher economic class. Most of the places listed on AirBnb are one bedroom apartments and two bedrooms one level houses.
Calling it a zoning violation is crap.
This fine is a betrayal to capitalism but a positive to the tourism industry. The tourism can behave like a monopoly and raise prices. More money goes to airlines, and cabs and parking lots. However, the average everyday people who live in Tuscaloosa who don’t have jobs in tourism suffer. Tourism won’t compete in the free market, making the industry weaker not stronger. So it’s good for the city and tourism, but it kills the sharing economy.
What an awful time to be a Alabama fan.