New York City officials on Tuesday are expected to start enforcing strict new regulations that limit residents’ ability to rent out homes through platforms like Airbnb.
The move is expected to lead to the removal of thousands of listings from the platforms. It is the latest and potentially most consequential development in the yearslong feud between big cities and the home-sharing companies.
The city argues that the proliferation of short-term rentals through Airbnb and other platforms has pushed up rents and helped fuel New York City’s housing shortage.
Airbnb has said the new rules amount to a “de facto ban” on the platform, and other critics say the city is bending to the lobbying of the hotel industry and locking out cheaper options for visitors.
What are the new regulations?
For years, the city has maintained that existing laws preclude people from renting out homes to guests for less than 30 days, unless the host is present during the stay. The city also asserts that no more than two guests are allowed to stay at a time, and that they must have ready access to the entire home.
But there continue to be numerous listings for rentals of whole apartments and homes, and the city has argued companies like Airbnb are not policing their platforms aggressively enough to root out violators.
A city official claimed in a July court filing that more than half of Airbnb’s $85 million net revenue in 2022 from short-term rentals in New York City came from activity that is illegal. Airbnb disputes the figure.
The new regulations, which the city will begin enforcing on Tuesday after a series of court challenges, require hosts to register with the city to be allowed to rent on a short-term basis.
In order to collect fees associated with the short-term stays, Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com and other companies must check that a host’s registration application has been approved.
Starting Tuesday, hosts who violate the rules could face fines of up to $5,000 for repeat offenders, and platforms could be fined up to $1,500 for transactions involving illegal rentals.
Why restrict short-term rentals?
City officials estimated there were roughly 10,800 Airbnb listings as of March 2023 that were illegal short-term rentals. They have argued that renting those homes to tourists and visitors instead of New Yorkers exacerbates the city’s acute housing shortage and makes it even more expensive to live here.
Residents who live in buildings with short-term rentals have complained that…