The Super Bowl is coming to Phoenix. The city is ablaze with the pump of tourist money and the adrenaline of hosting possibly the most important sports match of the entire year for Americans. However, I wonder how I can cash in on the action.
I do not intend to scalp tickets, sell T-shirts, or sit on a street corner offering soda or water for a dollar to the crowds on the hot sidewalk. Nor will I do anything illegal or morally unsound. I intend on making money in a far easier and more legitimate way.
As a student residing in five bedroom house, my immediate money making ideas stem from the amazing property I have in the city of Tempe–not far from the city of Glendale–where the actual Super Bowl will be played. The simplest mechanism I can imagine for making money is the one pioneered on the internet by an overwhelmingly young demographic, Airbnb.com.
Airbnb.com is a website that has essentially transformed any residential area or really anywhere in the world into a potential hotel for travelers. Renting out an extra room in your house, apartment, or anything in between has become a steady source of income for many since the website debuted in 2008. The prices on the website for a place in the Phoenix area vary greatly, but a home nearby to mine is renting a single bedroom for $85 nightly for the Thursday-Monday of Super Bowl weekend. However, when I look at the 5 bedroom houses, such as my current dwelling, I find the price skyrockets to anywhere between $850 to over $2,000 nightly. Assuming I am on the lowest end of this scale, that’s still approximately $3,400 (4 nights at $850). Admittedly, the money should be divided 5 ways, so I only make $680. Still, that is a fair amount of money to make for doing almost nothing, only requiring me to spend a few nights at a friend’s apartment for the weekend.
Renting one’s home over the internet comes with the risks of either living with, meeting with, or renting your living space to strangers. While not everyone is confortable with this kind of transaction taking place in their home, the overwhelming majority of the Airbnb.com interactions have all been positive experiences, mutually beneficial both for the traveler and for the person renting their space.
However, there are some serious concerns about the use of Airbnb.com and its space in the legal realm. Some have argued that by listing a dwelling on the website it becomes a de facto hotel, that the rental properties are side-stepping government safety regulations for hotels, dodging hotel insurance, and avoiding other important safety concerns. Others who reside in large scale apartment complexes have become angry over the constant threat of obnoxious, short-term residents and the crime that they may potentially bring with them during their short stays. Two of the most expensive and lucrative markets, San Francisco (where the website started) and New York City, have passed laws that curtail the industry.
In San Francisco beginning February of 2015, residents may only rent their dwelling out for a total of 90 days a year without the actual resident remaining at the property, and must pay a biennial $50 registration fee with the city. In New York, battles are currently underway concerning the future of Airbnb.com. However, unlike San Francisco, New York City already has a citywide law against leases under 30 days in apartments with three or more units. So unlike, San Francisco, a vast majority of the rentals done on the website in New York City have technically been illegal.
However, with the lack of any real enforcement mechanism, it is understandable why the website and its “landlords” are continuing to flourish in such high value markets. The website allows landowners to supplement their income using extra or unused space. It is no wonder why the website has grown exponentially in use since the economic downturn in 2008.
Currently there is little enforcement of Airbnb.com in Arizona. While there is little regulation of the website in the Phoenix metropolitan area, there are the typical land use ordinances and special rental taxation questions as is found in every major city nationwide. Ultimately, it is safe to say that assuming the renter takes care of the residence and pays accordingly, it is unlikely that renting out a residence for the Super Bowl in Phoenix will bring anything but some extra money to Phoenix residents. And I know I will make $680 this weekend for doing nothing.