HABITAT

BUILDING OPERATIONS

New Weapon in the Crackdown on Illegal Rentals

New York City

Airbnb Crackdown
Nov. 23, 2018

Last week, the city mounted its most aggressive crackdown yet on illegal short-term rentals, issuing 27 violations at the luxury Atelier condominium on the West Side of Manhattan. Two members of the condo board were among those cited for turning their apartments into illegal hotels.

This week, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office unveiled a set of proposed rules that will force short-term rental sites such as Airbnb to disclose the identities of hosts and the types of listings they are offering, Crain’s reports. The new statutes are the result of a law enacted earlier this year that's designed to aid city inspectors in cracking down on illegal home sharing.

The new rules propose that booking services submit monthly reports to the Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement through a yet-to-be-created web portal or face fines up to $1,500. The reports are to include a host's personal information, how much money changed hands, where to find advertising materials for listings and, most crucially, whether an entire apartment was being rented out and for how long. 

Under the state’s multiple dwelling law, it’s illegal to rent an apartment for fewer than 30 days if the owner is not present. The mayor's office has invoked that statute to ding homeowners or building owners and then hit them with additional violations for not having exit signs, sprinklers and other safety measures required in hotels. 

The effort is part of the city's opposition to illegal home sharing, which has received generous support from the Hotel Trades Council. The lobbying group contends that unionized hotel workers are hurt when visitors stay in private apartments. 

The administration is hosting a public hearing on the proposed rules Dec. 18, after which the mayor's office is likely to adopt them in some form.

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