Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts


Talia G. Loucks


Participation in the sharing economy makes consumers’ lives easier. From the rental of a house or room via room share sites like Airbnb to getting a ride around the city using rideshare apps such as Uber and Lyft, travelers have found less traditional and more affordable ways to explore. With these innovations, however, come risks for users. For example, Airbnb hosts do not owe guests the same duties as a hotel operator. Additionally, drivers’ insurance policies may not apply when operating for profit through a rideshare program. This Article examines the current liability issues that arise in the sharing economy. The law lacks clear, uniform guidance, as each city and state chooses to treat these companies differently. Because of this, sharing economy participants must be aware of the potential liability faced in a rapidly growing economy where the law is playing catch-up.

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