Carlan Bradshaw, a planning commissioner for the city of Walla Walla in Washington state, recently wrote an opinion piece on the impact of Airbnb short-term rentals titled “Short-term rentals belong in commercial zones“. The article published in the local newspaper, the Union Bulletin, provides some insight into the divisive issue of how to regulate short-term rentals and their impact on residential areas.

Mr. Bradshaw argues that: “Common to most communities, short-term vacation rentals drive up housing prices and rents while at the same time devaluing the homes adjacent to them.”

His first argument appears to be supported by a study conducted by a team of researchers at UCLA. The team analyzed and modeled data to understand the impact of short-term rentals on cost of living. The yet-to-be-published paper will show that increase in number short-term rentals is positively correlated with increases in home prices and rental rates.

Mr. Bradshaw’s claim that short-term rentals devalue adjacent homes is, to our knowledge, a subjective opinion not supported by data. He goes on to say: “Short-term rentals can transform once-quiet neighborhoods into party central, with issues of trash, parking, noise, security and empty houses.” Again, we find this to be a very subjective statement with little evidence to support such a claim.

There have been many incidents of parties being hosted at Airbnb rentals but no reports of widespread transformation of neighborhoods. This is an argument made purely to support Mr. Bradshaw’s opinion and should not be taken seriously.

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