October 26, 2016

Question of the Week: Will New Law “Kill Airbnb” in NYC?

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

Governor Cuomo recently signed a bill into law meant to significantly hamper Airbnb’s operations in the nation’s largest rental market. The new law makes advertising vacant apartments in a multi-unit building for 30 day or less punishable with a fine as high as $7,500. A unique coalition “including hotel unions, landlord and tenant groups, affordable housing advocates, Republicans and Democrats” came together to support these restriction, believing that “Airbnb creates problems everywhere.” In a public letter offering their support to the new law, an organization called ShareBetter wrote:

Illegal commercial listings on Airbnb and other online platforms [have] continued to proliferate, and so has the negative impact on our housing market. In just one of the companies, with nearly 30,000 illegal units as of 2015 – over 55% of their total listings – commercial hosts generated over $300 million renting apartments that could have been used by local residents. A recent study conducted by BJH advisors revealed that recapturing these illegal commercial listings and bringing them back into the housing market would increase the vacancy rate by 10%; a game-changer for a city that is starved for affordable housing.

Two days before the bill was signed, Airbnb apparently sensed its political fortunes shifting and offered its own set of proposed reforms to New York’s home-sharing laws:

At the heart of our recommendations is a provision that would limit people renting their home to a single home within the five boroughs. This would help ensure that home-sharing does not remove permanent housing from the rental market — and enable regulators to target enforcement at truly bad actors, while allowing everyday New Yorkers to occasionally rent their own home.

With the aptly nicknamed “Kill Airbnb Bill” still in its infancy, it will be difficult to determine the law’s full effects for quite some time. One thing that does appear certain is that Airbnb is not going to easily give up the company’s largest market in the United States:

Hours after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York signed a bill that would impose steep fines on Airbnb hosts who break local housing regulations, Airbnb filed a federal lawsuit contending the new law would cause it “irreparable harm.” The heightened battle in New York follows lawsuits that Airbnb has filed against its hometown San Francisco and in Santa Monica, Calif., which have both moved to fine the company for illegal listings.

What do you think: Will New Law “Kill Airbnb” in NYC? Vote below.

Will New Law “Kill Airbnb” in NYC?

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