What you need to know about New York’s new short-term rental registration law – Commercial Observer


the New York City Council passed a bill last week requiring homes listed on short-term rental sites like Airbnb at register with the city, in the hope of increasing the housing stock of the Big Apple and in order to crack down on illegal listings. With the sponsors of the bill while waiting for the outgoing mayor to sign in the law, here’s what you need to know about what the new rule means.

The bill itself seeks to uphold New York law cohabitation law, an existing rule that makes it illegal to rent an entire apartment in a building with three or more units for less than 30 days. Shorter rentals are legal in the city, but only if the resident is at home during a guest visit.

Hosts renting space would pay a application fees not yet decided register their apartments with the city for a new electronic short-term rental system, which gives them a unique identification number. To apply, a host cannot have any construction or accommodation violations on their property and the unit cannot be part of a New York City Housing Authority development or be an apartment without a dedicated kitchen or bathroom.

A host is also required to display their ID number on any online and in-unit booking site, display their registration certificate, an emergency exit diagram, and an emergency contact.

Violators can be hit with fines up to $ 5,000 or three times what they earned on a guest’s stay, whichever is less. They can also be accused up to $ 1,000 for making false statements on their registration application. Those the amounts are lower than a previous version of legislation introduced in May, which would have allowed costs up to $ 15,000 for an individual with multiple infractions that did not keep any record of a guest’s stay.

The bill also puts short-term rental sites on the hook for illegal listings. Sites could face fines of $ 1,500 or more if they make money from an illegal ad and would need to be checked by the city’s registration system, which would ensure that the potential ad’s address and other information matches what the host provided to the city. (Booking companies would pay a fee to use the system.)

The sponsor of the bill, member of the Council Ben kallos, hopes the city will crack down on illegal Airbnb and short-term rentals, forcing more apartments into the hot rental market. It puts the number of illegal short-lived spaces about 20,000, although the actual number is difficult to estimate.

“Housing should be reserved for New Yorkers. Hotels should be reserved for tourists, ”Kallos said in a statement after the bill was passed. “We need every apartment to be illegally listed on Airbnb in the market to help our affordable housing crisis. In an age when hotels close or sit empty, it’s crazy to see apartments all over the city turning into illegal Airbnbs.

New York has filed numerous lawsuits against illegal Airbnbs in the past, accusing brokers of Metropolitan real estate group to illegally facilitate 13,691 rentals from 2015 to 2018 in a lawsuit in 2019. (The case was later settled for $ 1 million.)

The law can give those who rent space on sites like VRBO, Airbnb and Booking.com peace of mind because they would know that their temporary home is faultless.

It would also help the city track down illegal registrations, rather than relying on the old system of comb through the online photos of the available rentals to try to identify the shadows.

But the city already has a preview of these lists. In 2020, Airbnb agreed to share some data about its hosts, but not before fighting for the first time. He sued New York City after the city passed a regulation requiring Airbnb and other home sharing sites to disclose host data, such as name, address, and how much money they made while staying . Airbnb then settled with the city, agreeing to provide this information on a quarterly basis, as part of a compromise with the city, which wanted it every month.

Critics of the new rule, like Airbnb, fear it could hamper an already decimated tourism industry by removing more affordable options from the market, as the paperwork involved would prevent hosts from listing their guest rooms and apartments online. . Airbnb hosts even spoke out, arguing that the service allows them to earn a little extra money to help pay their bills.

“Our host community in New York, much of which depends on income from house-sharing to stay in their homes, has spoken with great concern about this bill,” Alex dagg, Airbnb’s director of northeast policy, said in a declaration after the adoption of the bill.

If the mayor signs the law, it will not be applied until 12 months after this date, at the earliest. Whether he signs it or not, the bill will become law within 30 days, according to a city hall official.

the Office of the mayor responsible for special execution, already responsible for enforcing the city’s existing housing sharing regulations, would be responsible for putting the new law into force, unless the mayor designates another office.

Celia Young can be reached at cyoung@commercialobserver.com.

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