What to Know About New York’s Anti-AirBNB Law

We likely all know someone who scored a great deal on a far-off getaway using AirBNB.com. The website, which is wildly popular in the U.S. and abroad, helps match potential short-term renters with a suitable home, condo, or apartment. While the process seems to work fine for beachgoers and those seeking a little solitude, the short-term rental idea has not gone over so well in New York– prompting a state-wide ban on the use of Airbnb in virtually all instances.

On October 21, 2016, Governor Cuomo signed into law a bill that effectively restricts any short-term rental arrangement for shorter than 30 days where the property owner will not be present. In sum, any attempt to list and rent a New York property on sites like Airbnb could result in a $7,500 fine for the property owner – not cheap!

Proponents of the bill tout its devotion to maintaining affordable housing – particularly in the boroughs of New York City. Reportedly, landlords had begun buying up buildings, masquerading as apartment units, while renting the rooms on sites like Airbnb as an “illegal hotel” at huge profits. The practice was considered unduly burdensome on those looking to rent rooms at an affordable rate, and resulted in the introduction of the legislation.

The bill is not without its doubters, however, as many believe this law was put into place as a direct benefit to the hotel industry. In other words, by eliminating the competition of short-term rentals, hotels in the City and elsewhere in New York can maintain – or even raise – their nightly rates without much pushback from tourists. In a statement by Airbnb, “[i]t’s disappointing — but not surprising — to see politicians in Albany cut a last-minute deal with the hotel industry that will put 30,000 New Yorkers at greater risk of bankruptcy, eviction or foreclosure….Let’s be clear: this is a bad proposal that will make it harder for thousands of New Yorkers to pay the bills. Dozens of governments around the world have demonstrated that there is a sensible way to regulate home sharing and we hope New York will follow their lead and protect the middle class.”

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If you are a property owner with questions about the nuances of this legislation, be sure to contact Schneider Mitola today!