Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly


The last few years have seen a reinvention of the economy through the growth of the "sharing economy" or the "new economy." The sharing economy has redefined consumption in the housing context in a manner that implicates the exclusivity of the use and enjoyment of real property. However, there is a brewing conflict between this genesis and the realities of economic regulation. Recently, controversy erupted in New York after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman subpoenaed Airbnb's records requesting data on its hosts for the previous three years. Schneiderman contended that Airbnb hosts in New York City were violating a New York law that requires that certain multiple dwellings units only be occupied by "permanent occupants."

This Article addresses the question of whether municipal restrictions on short-term leasing constitute unconstitutional takings of private property without just compensation. I contend that such facilitation is desirable because municipalities actually do themselves a disservice when they prohibit these new economy housing exchanges. Such exchanges can help to preserve property values by providing income to homeowners that can be used to offset mortgage and maintenance costs-in other words, sharing the burden of ownership. If homeowners are able to do so, they are more likely to be able to maintain their homes in the short-term and to maintain ownership in the long-term. Moreover, municipalities may also reap economic benefits from permitting such exchanges.