New York May Make Airbnb Short-Term Rentals Illegal: New York Rental Law Updates

NY Airbnb, NYC Airbnb, NY Real Estate

New York may pass legislation by the end of the week making it illegal for New Yorkers to list short-term rentals on Airbnb.

In a rare show of bipartisan support, a bill to ban Airbnb-style posts for short-term sublets could get floor votes on the floors of the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate this week.  If the Anti-AirBnB Law is signed into law, advertising short-term sublets or any use other than permanent residency of these sublets shall be illegal in New York.

The legislation seems focused on commercial users of Airbnb who turn their residences into illegal and unregulated hotels.

Under these new New York laws, the liability for advertising short-term rentals would shift from building owners to the renters and those who place the advertisements on sites like Airbnb, with penalties ranging from $1,000 for a first offense to $7,500 for third and subsequent violations.

Airbnb claims that the majority of New Yorkers, it has polled, oppose such penalties and want governments to make short-term rentals legal, claiming that the proposed legislation hurts responsible home sharers.  On the other hand, real estate organizations, housing advocates and the hotel unions in New York support the proposed legislation.

New York is Airbnb’s largest market in the States, but the two have been butting heads since 2010 when New York passed a law prohibiting people from renting short-term when they are not present in the apartment with the guest.

Airbnb has spent close to $800,000 in the past six years in an unsuccessful attempt to lobby in both Albany and New York City. New York City has pledged to ramp up enforcement of Airbnb-type violations, allocating $10 million dollars over the next three years to go after individuals violating short-term rental laws.

Passage of the proposed legislation in New York would be the latest of recent setbacks for Airbnb. Last week, San Francisco voted to force Airbnb hosts to register with the City.  Los Angeles is considering regulations and penalties dictating how Airbnb users can rent out homes.  Airbnb has raised over $1 billion nationally to oppose such efforts.

By the end of the week, we should know whether New York will make Airbnb advertising of short-term rentals illegal.

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