Hotel rooms in New York City are costly, and many New Yorkers don’t have the space to accommodate visiting friends and family, which gave rise to the popularity of Airbnb and other home sharing sites. However, since 2010, it has been illegal for anyone to rent out their apartment for fewer than 30 days. As we have previously discussed, violations of this law, New York’s “Multiple Dwellings Law” (“MDL”) run from $1,000 to $5,000 for a first offense.
While the MDL has had some success in stamping out these illegal short-term sublets and rentals, it is still a far cry from eradicating these short term rentals entirely. Thanks to legislation passed by the New York State Legislature in June, it is now illegal to advertise your apartment on Airbnb or other home sharing sites for stays of less than 30 days. Those found guilty of violating the law face escalating fines of up to $7,500.
Governor Cuomo has yet to sign the bill, and in the interim, the hotel industry and Airbnb both continue to lobby for their positions. At the beginning of July, Airbnb announced that it had removed more than 2,233 New York City listings in an effort to weed out hosts who were in violation of Airbnb’s policies. Regulators and the hotel industry have continued to claim that Airbnb is resulting in an increasing number of homes functioning as illegal hotels in violation of zoning laws, safety codes and other requirements. As Airbnb has noted, that if the bill were enacted into law, New York would be the first jurisdiction in the world to ban advertising short-term rentals on home-sharing sites.