A new bill proposed by New York lawmakers seeks to eliminate the hefty fines imposed on short-term rental hosts by listing their homes on rental sharing sites such as Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO. The bill, introduced by Senator James Skoufis of Woodbury and Assemblymember Joseph Lentol of Brooklyn, would replace current law by limiting hosts to only listing a single property on home-sharing sites and would prohibit short-term rentals in affordable housing units. The measure would also require short-term rental hosts to register their rental property with the state.
Under the current law, New York City landlords and tenants cannot advertise an apartment as a short-term rental unless the rental host is present during a guest's entire stay. A short-term rental is defined by the state as a unit that is rented for less than thirty days in a multiple dwelling building. According to Section 121 of the New York Multiple Dwelling Law of the State of New York, a rental host can be fined up to $1,000 for the first violation of the law, $5,000 for the second violation, and $7,500 for the third and each subsequent offense.
The sponsors of the proposed law say that it balances the need for home sharing regulations with the reality that many New York residents use short-term rentals as a way to earn extra income by renting their properties when they are away. Airbnb's head of policy and communications says that the San Francisco-based company supports the legislation, although the company has challenged New York lawmakers in the past.
Airbnb and New York City's Legal Battle
According to the New York Times, New York City is Airbnb's most significant domestic market, with more than 50,000 apartment rental listings. Despite its success in the New York City market, the company recently sued to stop the implementation of a law that would have required home-sharing companies to disclose detailed information about tens of thousands of listings and hosts. The law was signed late last year by Mayor de Blasio in an effort to protect guests against short-term rental hosts who may operate their properties as illegal hotels. The judge granted Airbnb an injunction, blocking the law from taking effect pending legislation.
The law, while on hold for the time being, would also require that online rental service companies disclose the physical addresses of each of their New York City listings and the identities of their hosts to the city's Office of Special Enforcement. Companies that fail to share the data would be subject to fines of $1,500 for each listing they do not disclose.
Contact Real Estate Attorney Melvin Monachan
Attorney Melvin Monachan of the Law Offices of Melvin Monachan assists clients on all types of real estate issues throughout New York. Attorney Monachan has extensive litigation experience in the Civil Court and Housing Court and handles cases involving landlord and tenant disputes and condo association disputes that often accompany short-term rental issues. Contact us online or give us a call at (516) 714-5763.