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U.S. Senators Ask FTC to Probe Airbnb’s Impact on Housing

Three U.S. senators asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the impact of Airbnb Inc. and other home-rental websites on housing markets, attempting to elevate local regulatory battles to the federal level.

Senators Dianne Feinstein of California, Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts wrote a letter to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez requesting the agency “study and quantify” the prevalence of commercial renters using Airbnb, HomeAway Inc., VRBO and other short-term rental services. The letter said activity on those sites can result in housing shortages and drive up prices.