The Sharing Economy: Airbnb’s Discrimination Problem

Source: Airbnb

By Jason Shultz

Download full note here.

Racial discrimination is a systemic issue deeply rooted in American society. One company within the sharing economy cannot possibly change the behavior of the individual hosts that are essentially landlords. This Note examines how Airbnb hopes to achieve an inclusive community for its users, how the new policies will affect hosts and guests, as well as Airbnb as a corporation, and how the traditional Fair Housing Act applies to Airbnb’s hosts. Finally, this analysis will illustrate how Airbnb’s new focus on inclusion will impact the sharing economy as a whole. Airbnb needs to work with the government to change the current exceptions that allow certain landlords to discriminate against classes of people. These changes include both eliminating the exceptions and reclassifying how landlords are treated under government regulations. By working with lawmakers and other sharing economy companies, Airbnb can make a … Read the rest

Hotel Conglomerates and AirBnB: The Tale of lobbyists thwarting a cheap stay in the Big Apple.

Some people refer to it as the City of Dreams. The Big Apple. The Melting Pot. The Capital of the World. Or the City that Never Sleeps. Regardless of the chosen alias or nickname, there is one universal truth about New York, New York.  That is—that it sure isn’t cheap! In fact, some would say that it’s outrageously expensive! So for all the accolades and attractions that have rightfully earned the city its share of global admirers, there exists a rather large barricade for those wishing to experience the city. A former candidate for mayor in New York City ran under the appropriately coined political party known as—“The rent is TOO damn high.”[i]  The average rent for an apartment in NYC? $3,017 a month.[ii] The average cost of purchasing a Manhattan apartment? $1.425 million.[iii] The average cost of a hotel stay in the city? A Read the rest

What’s Mine is Yours: Takings After Kelo

“The sacred rights of property are to be guarded at every point. I call them sacred, because, if they are unprotected, all other rights become worthless or visionary.” Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, 1852.


Security in ones’ property has been a fundamental tenant of our society since its inception.  The Fifth Amendment enumerates this vital right and has served as a refuge against the government unjustly interfering with individual property rights for centuries. But, as judicial interpretation develops over time, a startling trend has emerged that could profoundly shape the future of the taking of private lands by the government. The landmark case of Kelo v. City of New London marked a radical shift in what could be construed as a legitimate taking based on a state’s police power. (1) This ruling has resulted in many states drafting new legislation in an attempt to temper the controversial ruling. (2) Read the rest

Regulatory Takings in Real Property: Fact or Fiction?

We are constantly changing the fundamental character of property ownership in this country.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the real property arena. As the past few years have shown us, real estate has morphed from a long-term, stable investment to become a hugely derivative enterprise, which has diversified and become interconnected with other sectors of the economy as never before.  The argument has been made that real estate has lost its original character and that it has become commoditizedRegardless of one’s position on this question it is clear that because of this continual transformation, takings law is constantly pressured to look at situations where the new concept of economic devaluation of property must be reconciled with the traditional notion of the bundle of sticks, and the state’s inability to render that bundle obsolete by legislative action, without compensation. Herein lies the basic regulatory takings conundrum that Read the rest

Transfer Fee Covenants and Homeowner’s Associations

 

 

In August 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) proposed “Guidance on Private Transfer Fee Covenants” (No. 2010-N-11) that would prohibit Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks from purchasing mortgages with private transfer fee covenants.  A private transfer fee is charged each time a property subject to such a covenant is sold.  The fee is typically calculated as a percentage of the property’s sales price.  These covenants are commonly used by homeowner associations.

FHFA’s stated reason for this decision was that these covenants “appear adverse to liquidity, affordability and stability in the housing finance market and to financially safe and sound investments.”  FHFA was further concerned with the private income streams created by these covenants and whether all of the money collected was used for the stated purpose of the fees.  Another concern was with disclosure of the fees since they can be hidden

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Possible Change on the Horizon for Foreclosure Law

 

The current financial crisis ushered in by the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market has shaken the foundations of our financial markets, exposed numerous Ponzi schemes, most infamously that of Bernard Madoff, and resulted in a tremendous increase in home foreclosures and bankruptcies.  In many of the current bankruptcy cases the line between a fraudulent conveyance and a legitimate transfer can make a difference of millions of dollars for the legitimate creditors.   In the realm of real estate, this situation has placed on the courts the burden of deciding which is more important: fair and equitable distribution of assets among creditors, or the historical distinctions between fraudulent conveyance law and foreclosure law.  

In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s a trend emerged whereby Bankruptcy courts began to allow homeowners who had become insolvent to avoid sales of foreclosed properties that occurred as early as 1 year before Read the rest

Reading between the law: A case study of the Home Repair and Remodeling Act of Illinois

I.          Introduction

            When thinking about judicial activism, the first thing that comes to mind often is the Supreme Court of the United States making decisions regarding civil rights. However, judges expand the law and create exceptions thereto in many fields and at many levels. The purpose of this article is not to question whether judicial activism exists, or even whether or not it is proper to practice it. Instead, this article considers one instance of activism in an everyday legal situation and then analyzes a series of judicial approaches and considers the ramifications of each.

A trial judge in Illinois once ordered an unnecessary evidentiary hearing, noting that he would “err on the side of caution… and allow [the case] to go forward” hoping that “some day, [he would] be enlightened by the Appellate Court… [as to] whether there can ever be an exception to the application of … Read the rest

Deficient in Deficiencies: The Potential Effects of the Refusal to Uphold Full-Recourse, Residential Real Estate Loans

I. Introduction

Foreclosures have taken on a new significance in the last few years as a result of the financial crisis. This has the led the finer points of the foreclosure proceedings to become extremely important for many lenders, and for many borrowers in default. One potentially important practice is the oft-rumored, but rarely documented routine of certain judges to simply refuse to grant any deficiency judgments in personal foreclosures. Cases have been brought before higher courts across the country, leading to judges being rebuked for ill-advised activism in refusing to properly entertain requests for deficiency judgments. [1] In light of the record number of foreclosures taking place in the last two years [2], a lack of deficiency judgments may prove to have a significant effect on banks and may lead to a change in the practices of many banks. The purpose of this article is to question what effects Read the rest

Have Homeowners Associations Crossed the Line? Homeowners Associations Are Quick to Pursue Foreclosure for Unpaid Assessments

I.  Introduction  

Common Interest Communities have become a way of life for the American people.  Millions of Americans reside in gated communities governed by homeowners associations. [1] These communities are growing in popularity for numerous reasons.  One such reason is that families want to live and raise their children in an environment that fits their needs and desires. [2]  Another reason is that people feel a sense of security and stability in a gated community. [3] 

However, these communities have not escaped strong criticism for their burdensome restrictions, excessive regulation and aggressive enforcement.  Critics argue that the disadvantage of living in such a community is that homeowners have to comply with a myriad of restrictions and covenants and failure to do so can result in fines. [4]  Critics also allege that the zealous homeowners associations often times abuse their powers … Read the rest

An Option You Shouldn’t Pass Up

          The nationwide credit crisis has made the “American Dream” unattainable to most citizens. As lenders instituting rigorous requirements making qualifying for mortgages nearly impossible. The record breaking foreclosures and unemployment have added fuel to the fire, putting pressure on homeowners to reduce their asking prices. Many owners have been forced to sell at far below market value, accepting a large loss on properties that when purchased had high potential for profitability. However, the resurgence of lease-option agreements, especially in areas where foreclosure rates are high, has sparked hope for many sellers and buyers. [1]

          A lease-option agreement, also called a rent-to-buy option, combines a traditional lease between a landlord and tenant with the option or right to purchase the leased home. [2] The agreement stipulates that “the buyer take possession of the goods with the first payment and takes ownership with the final payment.”[3] With a lease-option, the Read the rest