If you’ve been pining for a budget trip to New York, you better hop on it.
The state’s short-term rental law (called the multiple-dwelling law, which went into affect in 2010) prohibits leaseholders from renting entire properties or units without occupying the space at the same time for fewer than 30 days. Basically, you can’t rent an entire apartment out on Airbnb, but you can rent a room as long as you’re there at the same time, and the renter is able to access the whole space. Now, subleasing to someone for a month? That’s cool.
According to data from Airbnb, about 60 percent of their New York City listings are actually illegal, with leaseholders offering entire apartments to renters. And the New York state legislature is ready to crack down on scofflaws, according to the Real Deal, which could mean fines from $1,000 to $7,500 for those who list entire units on short-term rental sites such as Airbnb and VRBO.
“I’m elated,” said Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), the chief sponsor in the Democratic-controlled Assembly, according to TRD. “You should know who your neighbor is and what happens when people rent out their apartments on Airbnb is you get strangers. Every night there could be a different person sleeping in the next apartment and it shatters that sense of community in the building. It also can be dangerous.”
Of course, not everyone agrees with these stiff penalties and fines, as many New Yorkers have turned to Airbnb to afford life in the Big Apple, which is increasingly expensive. According to TechCrunch, as many as 31,000 NYC residents could lose their homes if this bill becomes law:
“It’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,” Airbnb Head of New York Public Policy Josh Meltzer said in a statement to TechCrunch. “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.”
We’ve heard horror stories of people renting units and subdividing the floorplans to accommodate up to 10 people in a three-bedroom apartment, against their lease agreements, might we add. It’s disputed whether those taking advantage of the apartment-share economy are in the majority, though, as few facts or figures regarding their proportion of the market are available. Heck, an entire company was founded to seek out illegal subletting and report them to the authorities, so there’s really no telling how big of a burden professional Airbnb hosts are.
What do you think of apartment-sharing website Airbnb and this proposed law?