New York Passes Law To Stop Short-Terms Airbnb Rentals

Governor Cuomo today signed legislation that makes it illegal within New York City’s five boroughs to advertise entire apartments on home “sharing” websites like Airbnb for fewer than 30 days.

Renting out an entire apartment for a stay shorter than 30 days is already against the law for most New York City hosts, but that hasn’t stopped New Yorkers from advertising short term stays. Airbnb  reports 44,622 total listings in the city as of Sept. 1.

The bill, A08074/S6340, which went into effect immediately, heavily fines hosts on Airbnb and other short-term rental sites like HomeAway, FlipKey, and VRBO, who post listings that violate the state’s laws on short-term rentals. The law has a penalty of up to $1,000 for the first violation, $5,000 for the second violation, and $7,500 for the third and subsequent violations.

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There’s obviously two sides to this debate. On one side is Airbnb, the hosts who will lose money and those who visit NYC who will undoubtedly see less options and will have to pay more for their stays. On the other side is the hotel industry, the neighbors of those who rent out their homes on Airbnb and lots of other New Yorker’s who suffer to find affordable housing.

“In typical fashion, Albany back-room dealing rewarded a special interest — the price-gouging hotel industry — and ignored the voices of tens of thousands of New Yorkers. A majority of New Yorkers have embraced home sharing, and we will continue to fight for a smart policy solution that works for the people, not the powerful,” Airbnb’s head of New York public policy Josh Meltzer said in a statement.

“Airbnb has broken the law for years, making billions off their exploitation of the housing market while tenants have paid the price with higher rents and less affordable housing. This bill will give law enforcement the tools they need to crack down on illegal short-term rentals that deprive our neighborhoods of precious units of affordable housing and destabilize our communities,” the ShareBetter Coalition said in a statement. That  is a coalition of elected officials, housing activists and most importantly hotel owners.

Airbnb has vowed to keep fighting. Airbnb sued the city of New York, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Mayor Bill de Blasio today over the legislation. Airbnb claims the law is a violation of the Communications Decency Act, which protects internet companies from liability for content posted by their users. In the suit, Airbnb says that application of the law to Airbnb “would hold Airbnb liable for the content of rental listings created and posted by third-parties on Airbnb’s platform. As such, the Act unquestionably treats platforms such as Airbnb as the publisher or speaker of third-party content and is completely preempted by the CDA.”

Do you live in NYC or plan to visit the city? How do you think this new law will impact all parties involved?

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