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An update on Airbnb: hosts compare notes on maximizing rentals

This is a follow-up to a post we did a little over a year ago on attempts by Los Angeles to tax short-term housing rentals that are conducted through online social-sharing sites.

Sites such as Airbnb have created new accommodation possibilities for travelers and opened up an additional source of income for homeowners. Los Angeles officials have been trying to get a voluntary agreement with the operators of the sites to collect taxes on short-term rentals. We discussed this controversy in our September 12 post last year.

In today's post, we will update you on Airbnb's growing presence in the Los Angeles market.

The Los Angeles Times reported today on the motivations that lead various people to rent out room in their homes for short periods through Airbnb.

A common theme is the need for extra money to help make ends meet. A number of social hosts met up recently at a Hollywood restaurant to compare stories and exchange tips about how to rent out space most effectively for short periods of time.

For example, one Airbnb host recommended getting an electronic lock for the front door. That way, as a host, you don't have to give out keys to guests - and run the risk that the guests will walk off with them.

Another bit of advice given at the meetup was about keeping your place impeccably clean. Doing this helps to facilitate good online reviews.

Steps like these may sound more like efforts to maximize a business opportunity than to merely share a resource with a peer on an occasional basis. But Airbnb does send 1099 forms to its hosts. And Los Angeles is still looking for ways to regulate them and collect taxes on the short-term rentals.

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