November 13, 2019
By Jon Riches

The right to use one’s home as one sees fit so long as the use does not harm one’s neighbor is a central tenet of American life. Two such uses—the ability to share one’s home with guests and work out of one’s home—have been common for centuries. In recent years, the internet has allowed people to communicate better and connect more efficiently, which has resulted in the rise of home-sharing platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway. At the same time, technological advances have made operating a home business, and working from one’s own home, easier and more practical for millions of Americans. 

But with the increased accessibility of home-sharing and the increased practicality of home-based businesses, regulators have imposed more and more restrictions on these common uses of residential property. A new paper, co-written by me and Anastasia Boden of the Pacific Legal Foundation, explores these regulatory responses to home-sharing and home-based businesses. Published as part of the Federalist Society’s Regulatory Transparency Project, the paper observes that state and local restrictions on home-sharing and home-based businesses are preventing homeowners from best utilizing their property to offer innovative services to consumers and unique experiences to guests. The costs associated with these regulations often prevent the desired use altogether, and the purported benefits resulting from such regulations can already be realized from existing regulations, such as nuisance laws and other local public safety regulations. Because of the convenience, cost efficiency, and increasing popularity of home-sharing platforms and the opportunities created by home-based businesses, reforms in this area should seek to expand, rather than restrict, such uses of residential property. 

You can read the full paper, Live, Work, Share: Putting out the Welcome Mat to Home-Sharing and Home-Based Businesses, here.

Jon Riches is the Director of National Litigation at the Goldwater Institute.

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