Article by: Shelly Kreiczer-Levy

43 PEPP. L. REV. 61 (2015)

Various doctrines from different areas of the law provide special legal protection for property that is produced and used for personal use, creating the legal category of “consumption property.” Zoning, criminal procedure, discrimination, foreclosure and bankruptcy, taxes, and eminent domain all treat property for consumption differently than commercial property. Recently, a new social phenomenon known as the sharing economy allows owners to rent out personal assets such as a room in their home, their private car, a bicycle, and even pets. The sharing economy challenges the foundational distinction between privately used property and commercial property and leads to fragmentation of uses and symbolic meanings. This fragmentation raises new questions: What are the boundaries of intimacy in the realm of modern consumption? How should the law regulate business transactions in intimate locations?

This Article presents the category of personal consumption property, argues that the sharing economy profoundly challenges it, and then offers new ways to reinvent this category by introducing the framework of consumption property as a nexus of connections. The new framework also has numerous legal implications ranging from fair housing law and public accommodations law to taxes, business licenses, and other regulatory regimes.

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