Don Jones®

Tech | Career | Musings

I recently read an article on our local Fox affiliate (FOX5) about AirBnB operating in Nevada. Go ahead and read the article, and develop an opinion.

The article definitely makes you feel like AirBnB is going strong in Nevada. $100 million in Clark County (where Las Vegas is located) seems amazing, no?

Sadly, it’s a terrible article, one I suspect was just regurgitated from an AirBnB press release with zero fact-checking. Possibly AirBnB even paid for the article placement, which is dismaying but admittedly all-too-common these days.

I attempted to reach out to FOX5 by email, but their server rejected the email listed on their website.

Screen Shot 2019-01-14 at 8.04.51 AM.png

Well, that sucks.

Here’s what I wrote:

I was extremely disappointed that Ms. Benavidez did little more than quote AirBnB press releases in her article, https://www.fox5vegas.com/news/nevada-airbnb-community-makes-m-hosts-more-than-k-guests/article_afe48490-1673-11e9-9866-db013067b63d.html.

She neglected to mention that most AirBnB units in Clark County (including Henderson but partially excepting the City of Las Vegas) operate illegally (http://www.clarkcountynv.gov/administrative-services/Pages/Short-Term-Rentals-in-Unincorporated-Clark-County.aspx), creating nuisance and safety hazards throughout the county.
She neglected to mention that the $100 million earned by AirBnB hosts in Clark County contributed nothing to the county economy, as those hosts dodge our hotel taxes – taxes which play a fundamental role in ensuring Nevada remains free of personal income taxes.
She unquestioningly accepted AirBnB’s allegation that hosts use the platform for “supplemental income,” despite the fact that many units’ owners live out of state, own multiple units, and use AirBnB solely to run illegal hotel operations, not to “supplement their income” or “share their home.” AirBnB peddles this narrative nationally, but “journalists” seem disinterested in actually investigating its truth or falsehood.
She neglected to mention the recent $103,284 and $10,000 fines to short-term rental owners in the City of Las Vegas (where AirBnB is legal with a city permit) (see https://ogoglv.blogspot.com/2018/12/ogden-unit-fined-100k-for-illegal-short.html), levied after repeated violations.
She neglected to mention that the City of Las Vegas has further curbed short-term rentals like AirBnB, amidst a continuing backlash by residents against “party houses” in their neighborhoods (See https://lasvegassun.com/news/2018/dec/05/las-vegas-votes-to-curb-short-term-rentals-with-ne/).
You would think FOX5 would be more concerned about the viewpoints and perspectives of its viewers, as well as more concerned about the facts of the law. Ms. Benavidez’ article essentially encourages and glorifies an illegal activity. 
It seems the height of irresponsibility, in particular, for the article to have carried no mention whatsoever of the illegality of AirBnB in Clark County. The article proves to be little more than an advertisement, which I hope FOX5 at least charged AirBnB a good sum for.
Please consider asking Ms. Benavidez to retract the article, or to publish a correction providing some context that at least spells out the basic facts of law in Clark County.
More of a heads-up – just because you read or hear something on the “news,” doesn’t mean it’s even remotely factual, let alone true. Even if it’s your favorite outlet, we’re in a world where you need to do the fact-checking yourself.
MORE: For additional context, check out this map. As you can see, a huge number of homes in Las Vegas are rented in their entirety. That’s fine for 31+ days (which is considered long-term), but this isn’t people “supplementing their income” to “make ends meet,” and too many of them, in reality, illegally accept short-term rentals.
%d bloggers like this: