Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Home-Sharing

Cato Regulation Magazine, Fall 2016

4 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2017

Date Written: September 1, 2016


There is a disturbing nationwide campaign against property rights in the sharing economy, a campaign that is stifling economic opportunity and a new means of tourism that has connected property owners and travelers. Property owners can rent their homes to make money and help pay their mortgages. Consumers benefit from more choice and lower prices; communities attract visitors who support local businesses; and people are incentivized to buy dilapidated homes and fix them up.

But regulators aren’t rewarding these entrepreneurs for creating value. Instead, they’re punishing people — sometimes with criminal penalties — for allowing overnight guests.

In 2016, Arizona lawmakers adopted legislation that expressly forbids local governments from passing blanket bans on home-sharing. The new law allows local communities to enforce nuisance rules that protect quiet, clean, and safe neighborhoods, but blocks one-size-fits-all prohibitions that cause more problems than they solve. States nationwide should follow suit. Officials aren’t doing residents — or travelers — any favors by slapping responsible taxpaying homeowners with large fines. Instead, they are limiting choices, hindering the tourism industry, and depriving people of the right — and the incentive — to use their property as they see fit.

Keywords: home-sharing, homesharing, property rights, sharing economy, Airbnb, Homeaway, Arizona

Suggested Citation

Sandefur, Christina, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Home-Sharing (September 1, 2016). Cato Regulation Magazine, Fall 2016, Available at SSRN:

Christina Sandefur (Contact Author)

Goldwater Institute ( email )

500 E. Coronado Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
United States


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