12 Jan

There is a consistency in my life DESIGN and otherwise to be ahead of my time. I guess there is something to be said for consistency even when it comes to Testifying THREE YEARS before the DC City Council budget committee headed by Muriel Bowser as an advocate FOR the OTA Office of Tenant Advocacy to not have their budget cut. My experience was the OTA department was overworked and UNDER enforced. What good is having laws on the books if the laws are not enforced EVEN make that ESPECIALLY in DC.

THREE YEARS ago I laid out my professional evaluation of OTA effectiveness as learned through personal experience. LANDLORDS operate illegally because the simplest of conformances was not done- REQUIRING LANDLORDS TO PUBLISH THEIR BBL & DCRA license numbers on their lease OH and letting the renting constituency know these were DE FACTO not arbitrary. PUNISHABLE. CITABLE. But to the delight of the real estate community Builders Realtors Landlords not Tenants NOT enforced hence a boon of illegal landlords were getting away with operating under the radar costing the DISTRICT mega & much needed dollars. It took almost the same time for the office to hone in on my alert of SCAM rentals being offered on the Internet. Question was who would rent online in another country from someone they never met then send money expecting KEYS & comfort when they landed. That is why the phrase THERE IS A SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE has propulgated exponentially since the Internet morphed into warp speed.

AND THEN as the song says ALONG CAME in this case not Mary but Carrie who figured out the finger in the dyke to stem the flood of fiscal dollars out of local & federal government hands was to enforce the LICENSE NUMBERS in all and every ad Realtors Builders and Landlords are connected to Online in Print on Websites on Lawn signs Craigslist plus. Got to smile that it was Carrie who pointed out to the OTA at the OTA SUMMIT held at Galluadette earlier this year that the department had to set the example. Figures I saw the Department of Housing and Community Development’s web-based Apartment Finder had launched their E-HARMONY matching system for Landlords & Tenants SANS drop downs for BBL & RAD numbers required by DCRA law.

Fast forward a VC event or two and an awareness of SUCKER BEING BORN doubting becoming big business. AIRBnB http://www.airbnb.com was born more correctly founded in San Francisco CA August 2008 by Nathan Blecharczyk CTO & Co-Founder graduated Computer Science from Harvard then worked as a program manager at Microsoft, engineer at OPNET Technologies, and lead developer at Batiq. Nathan graduated with a degree in Computer Science from Harvard University. Co-Founder & CEO Brian Chesky takes pride in PUSHING THE STATUS QUO has stated his ambition is STAYING IN THE LINCOLN BEDROOM booked through AIRBnB. With offices now in London Paris Barcelona Sao Paulo Copenhagen Moscow Hamburg Berlin Milan & Singapore AIRBnB labelled “a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone… an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month” has become a FISCAL & REGULATORY nightmare for cities starving for dollars. “ Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions” is putting BRICK business on the edge of their FISCAL CLIFFS. How nice to be right AGAIN at how wrong things will go & grow EXPONENTIALLY in Internet days and times. Talk about timing and technology, there I was spot on time again this time the potential for fraud became a business model costing locales dearly needed tax dollars.

Potential renters search by Dates Availability and Property. Hosts upload PHOTOS naming a price JUST like the none existent tree decorated address that was not across the street from the HOOVER building down on C Street in DC. Hosts are message through the onsite messaging system in which Credit Card info is entered. Not everything is can be wrong considering AIRBnB metrics of over 600 million Social Connections booking 10 million nights from over 200K listings worldwide in 33K in 192 countries. Have people not learned enough from ONLINE DATING fraud where pictured Princes turn out to be wart covered lotharios.

Every single booking on Airbnb is covered by AIRBnB’s Host Guarantee – at no cost to the host. Airbnb partnered with Lloyd’s of London, one of the world’s most reputable names in insurance so “in the rare case when something goes wrong” hosts know “forces are conspiring to protect” them for damage up to $1 million dollars FOR ELIGIBLE COUNTRIES with PAYMENTS subject to Certain conditions Limitations & Exclusions found in AIRBnBs. TERMS AND CONDITIONS does not cover Cash Securities Collectibles Rare artwork Jewelry Pets Wear and tear & Personal liability. TERMS AND CONDITIONS only covers currently eligible Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Puerto Rico, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States. Even in the land of virtuality there is always a way out for Insurers. Surprised? NOT. After all business is business even in a Virtual Dog world.

AIRBnB hosts pay 3% when their booking is successful. Transactions are handled through AIRBnB with payment options of Check Direct deposit or Paypal. AIRBnB sends a photographer at no cost to the host. Autopost listings can be sent in ONE click to Craigslist Facebook Twitter & Google traffic plus for anything that is translatable in to 7 languages for spaces that are rentable Castles Boats Cabins Homes Islands and apartments. HOSTS are advised there are advantages to connecting through FACEBOOK a no brainer in that all platforms is seems are being enjoined with the INTERNET user at disadvantage. RULES are the hosts responsibility to convey to their GUEST but as with all other adages some learn the hard way that RULES ARE MADE TO BE BROKEN even when it comes to Parties Noise Smoking Pets Co-op Board regulation or HOA plus example being the INAUGURATION. Something about green crossing a palm that makes Tenants take a risk to get $10K for a downtown flat for the week of PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATIONS.

Homeowners see Inauguration Week as the perk of domiciling in the political capitol of the world hoping to make big bucks for anywhere from a night to a week even more made easier these days. There are more than AIRBnB brokering temporary rentals between strangers. Other sites are Homeway.com, Flipkey.com & Brbo.com that help line up waiting lists for owners who speculate their zipcode has equity when POTUS swears in. If only homeowners paid attention and set politics aside they would be renting out too during March For Life week which packs out more hotels then POTUS but not at the opportunistic rates of Inauguration week of $600 a night for a non de plus 2 bedroom. Key word? HOSTING not renting. Renting is under the domain of the Landlords & Tenants.

HOOTSUITE reported HALF OF AIRBnBs New York City listings are illegal citing half of the apartments listed on the site are illegal according to New York state law. NYC banned short term rentals May 2011. Thing is AIRBnB according to HOOTSUITE did not DISABLE LISTINGS THAT BREAK THE LAW nor WARN CONSUMERS New York City laws were being broken with fines starting at $1K even though New York City found value in using AIRBnB to host HURRICANE SANDY victims as guests for free. The New York Times reported one AIRBnB host faced fines exceeding $40K for hosting AIRBnB guests in his AIRBnB posted East Village apartment. AIRBnB has taken to arguing policy change on their public blog challenging New York State Senator Liz Krueger sponsored legislation making short term rentals illegal because corporate entities were making full time business out of short term rentals. AIRBnBs wants PROGRESSIVE laws so everyday guests can use AIRBnB consistently & fair the online rental middleman says pointing fingers at legislative bodies & city officials arguing its not always easy to know how a law on the books maybe upheld by the people responsible with law oversight.

AIRBnB does advise re regulations COVERING THEIR BACKSIDE for not ensuring in the case of the DISTRICT of COLUMBIA that matchmaking between HOSTS & GUESTS complies with District rules or vetting the guest overlooking the Presidential Inaugural route is really them & not an alias or other or ducking out being caught by a suspicious husband or wife.

Regulators and GC setting up policy for local AIRBnB matches should take a look https://www.airbnb.com/help/topic/hosting. The USER POLICY https://www.airbnb.com/terms starts out with a premise it seems AIRBnB is violating Local State Provincial National or other Laws or Regulation or any order of a court including without limitation Zoning restrictions & Tax regulations. LANDLORDS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA have to be LICENSED. C’mon VINCE GRAY. In your effort to boost DC as a Tech Capitol of the East Coast don’t break your own laws at a time DC needs DOLLARS. Despite LIVING SOCIAL announcing their imminent firing thousands of employees the day after MAYOR GRAY dazzled DCs HACKATHON announcing $35 million over 5 years as glue keeping the slipping deal’r stuck in DC…. as a DIGITAL WORLD GOLDEN CALF


LET CONGRESS HEAR FROM YOU. Contact Congressmen Fred Upton, Joe Barton and Ed Markey & Senators Rand Paul, Mark Warner to protect your Identity and Intellectual Property from theft and cyber stalking. Contact Senator Tim Scott to defend your rights as an Entrepreneur
CAPITOL HILL Switchboard (202) 224 3121
HOUSE: http://www.Markey.house.gov, http://www.Joebarton.house.gov,http://www.Upton.house.gov
SENATE: Senator Mark Warren http://www.warner.senate.gov Senator Rand Paul http://www.paul.senate.gov ENTREPRENEUR ADVOCATE [ the amazing ] Senator TIM SCOTT
And of course contact YOUR OWN Congressman & Senator & Parlimentarian


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