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New York City Seeks To Tighten Control Over Airbnbs

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New rules would require homeowners and tenants who offer short-term rentals to register units with the city. Airbnb and hosts call the requirements overly restrictive.

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When Airbnb announced last week that it had identified hundreds of apartment buildings in more than two dozen cities to rent their units out on its platform, the company specifically avoided the biggest market of all: New York City.

Recently unveiled rules on short-term rentals discussed at a meeting on Monday shows why.

New York City is set to require short-term rental hosts to register their units with the city and provide a diagram showing which room or rooms would be used on a short-term basis, among other requirements that Airbnb says are overly restrictive.

The new rules “will create a draconian and unworkable registration system that will prevent lawful and responsible Hosts from listing their homes at a time when New York families are navigating the rising cost of living,” said Nathan Rotman, Airbnb’s public policy regional lead. 

While the city says the proposal will protect valuable long-term housing stock, Airbnb says New York leaders are preventing renters and homeowners from making extra income by using its platform.

In New York, short-term rentals are defined as homes that are rented for fewer than 30 days. Short-term rentals aren’t allowed unless the home’s owner or tenant is present during the stay.

Supporters of the new rules included tenants’ rights groups and the Real Estate Board of New York.

According to The Real Deal: “The Real Estate Board of New York has come out in favor of the proposed rules, pointing to cases where landlords were penalized for reporting tenants who were illegally renting out their apartments.”

Airbnb first entered into an information-sharing agreement with the city in June 2020, according to the company. It has also complied with a short-term rental reporting law.

Under the new rules, short-term rental hosts would be required to include a city-issued registration number on any listing. They’d also be required to post a diagram of emergency exit routes within the unit or home.

The city says the rules will help to crack down on unsafe units while keeping more housing available for long-term renters.

“We will continue to engage in conversations with the current administration to support an effective and transparent regulatory framework that helps responsible Hosts and targets illegal hotel operators,” Airbnb’s Rotman said.

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