Imagine your boss calls you into his office on a Monday morning. You think you are going to chat about the weekly agenda ahead; however, you notice the sullen look on your boss’s face. You immediately become nervous and think that no good news could possibly come from this meeting. You begin to glance over his desk and notice printouts for unemployment counseling and job listings in the area. Sheer panic begins to spread throughout your body, and then your boss states, “I’m sorry, we’re going to have to let you go.” Your stomach drops to the floor. Your heart starts racing. You think that this cannot be happening to you, not here and not now. Feeling powerless and debilitated, you pack up your belongings on your desk and begin your drive back home. A million thoughts are racing through your mind. How am I going to pay the bills? What if I don’t ever find a job anywhere else? How will I support my family? How will I continue to pay off my mortgage? Just as you pull into the driveway, you see that your significant other is still at home. How will you tell the love of your life that you just lost your dream job? You sit there feeling hopeless. But what if the solution to all of this was staring you right in the face—your home.
In 2012, Nan Doyle’s husband was in this exact crisis after he lost his job. In order to continue paying their bills, the couple decided to list their garden apartment in Brooklyn, New York on Airbnb, an online service platform for short-term rentals. Doyle and her husband own their home and have been hosting visitors from around the world for short-term stays. Doyle explains how Airbnb has allowed her to remain a proud resident of New York City. She states, “[Airbnb] has allowed us to keep our own housing ‘affordable,’ and helped us share the magic of our neighborhood with guests who might never leave Manhattan (or never make it to the city) if their only choice was a hotel.” Although this may seem like the perfect solution to earning supplemental income in a time of need, the New York State legislature might soon make it nearly impossible for the Doyle’s and other residents of New York City to rent out their homes on short-term rental websites, such as Airbnb.