New York City Is Cracking Down on Short-Term Airbnb Rentals

There are currently thousands of illegal short-term rentals across the city

Aerial view of New York City
Major fines await those who don't comply

New York could soon lose as many as 10,000 of its 40,0000 Airbnbs because of a city-wide crack down on illegal short-term rentals. Per a report from The Guardian, New York City introduced Local Law 18 last year, which required short-term rentals to be registered with the city. Now, it is cracking down on hosts by mandating they prove that they reside in the rented properties and that the home is up to safety code, among other things.

For the uninitiated, legal short-term rentals are categorized by the city as “any properties where no more than two people are hosted, the host resides in the dwelling unit and where guests have access to all parts of the dwelling unit.” But according to Christian Klossner, the executive director of New York City mayor’s office of special enforcement, there are an overabundance — thousands, in fact — skirting current laws, the effects of which have been felt most heavily by long-term city renters.

“Regular people have been lured on to the site where it is easy to advertise illegal occupancy without restraint,” Klossner said.

Up until now, the city relied predominately on user complaints and the platforms (e.g. Airbnb and Vrbo) to handle the illegal rentals. The crackdown will also hold the latter more accountable. Further, any hosts found in violation of the law will now be fined anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000.

Short-term rentals have long been a strain on residential communities, hotels and supporters of affordable housing in New York, where affordable housing doesn’t exactly abound. They’ve also had some pretty unsavory effects on many of the neighborhoods in which they reside. Klossner noted that neighbors living in proximity to short-term rentals frequently complain about “disruption, including noise, weekday parties that can feature excessive drinking and drug use, and other disturbances as well as security concerns.”

“People want to feel safe and secure and at peace in their homes,” Klossner said. “Short-term rentals very often turn into a disruption of that peace.”

Hosts argue that the crackdown is an “overreach” by the city authorities, but based on the number of other cities that have successfully firmed up their laws surrounding short-term rentals, it’s actually not. That said, the platform remains committed to protecting hosts of the legal short term variety.

“Even the bill’s sponsor, former council member Ben Kallos, has said that regular New Yorkers should be able to share their home at a time when many families are trying to keep up with the rising cost of living,” Nathan Rotman, Regional Lead at Airbnb, told InsideHook. “Airbnb agrees regular New Yorkers should be able to share their home and not be targeted by the City, and we urge the administration to work with our Host community to support a regulatory framework that helps responsible Hosts and targets illegal hotel operators.”


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