Following the legalisation of the UberX service in New South Wales late last year, the conversation about sharing economy business has been front page almost constantly. The benefit of these services such as UberX and Airbnb is that it connects the consumers directly with the services, cutting out all the time consuming and unnecessary in between work. The downside of these startups is that it puts many other aspects of the business at risk as a result of the little regulation.
Horror stories have arisen from Airbnb and UberX users alike as a result of this. The famous Canadian case of a family coming home to find their house completely trashed by Airbnb renters is just one example of the issues that can be caused by the lack of any sort of check or insurance for the service. Other issues also occur as a result of the homeowners being inappropriate, to the extent that one renter in Madrid was actually sexually assaulted in his Airbnb stay.
The legalisation and subsequent government regulation of Airbnb and other sharing economy businesses will result in a safer situation for everyone involved, but will also likely increase fees and make it harder for the services to be used. Competing business models such as taxis in terms of UberX and hotels in relation to Airbnb aren’t so happy about the pending legalisation, but in reality will likely just have to keep up to date with the trajectory of society and relationships between service providers and consumers.