New York Governor Signs Anti-Airbnb Bill: the End of Airbnb in New York City?

Governor Cuomo has signed the Rosenthal / Lanza bill imposing fines of up to $7500 per advertisement of an ‘illegal unit’ on home sharing sites like Airbnb, which is likely to mean a fine for anyone who advertises short-term accomodations through Airbnb. This legislation was predicted to end Airbnb in New York.

Airbnb had recently proposed instead that:

  • hosts who live in the city only be allowed to list one unit for rent
  • hosts would have to register with the city
  • and a complaint hotline would be set up
  • with repeat rule breakers permanently banned from the platform

While Airbnb suggested, “At end of day Havana, Cuba, has figured this out and it seems to me New York City should be able to figure this out.”

Apparently that didn’t come to pass, and the Hotel Association of New York was trumpeting what amounts to its success shutting down competition on Friday afternoon.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. While Airbnb suggested (by translation), “[Communism by the abuse of digital technology, subjugated under a military dictatorship, has figured its way rather than Capitalism to fund a company like AirBNB that makes no money].”

    That’s what my Thesaurus said. Now where’s my free B-Fast at the HGI….yummy!

  2. Ridiculous. Of all the cities that needs AirBNB to keep outrageously high hotel prices in check. I guess this bozo doesn’t want more tourists coming to NYC. Just another in a long line of limousine liberals who know what’s best for you better than you do, and their solution is always more laws and less freedom. Glad I got I visited NYC earlier this year, because now I won’t be back.

  3. Please change your title to NEW YORK CITY. The law does not apply to the entirety of New York State (only cities with population of 1,000,000 or more- which is only NYC). Your title will do more harm to us upstate NY Airbnb hosts, which remain legal.

  4. As a traveler, AirBnB gives me more choices. But regardless, I want a similar law for my city — because short-term renters degrade my own personal living situation on an otherwise quiet Dead End street.

    The owner of my triplex converted the unit above mine to short-term rental (right after renewing my extended lease, without telling me his plans), and I’ve experienced all sorts of annoyances: young male 3am partiers, families with uncontrolled children on the property, constant furniture moving during sleeping hours, folks upstairs stealing my garbage can and hiding it inside their locked patio area, and even visitors ringing my doorbell at late hours when they are locked out. These things generally didn’t happen when a long-term renter was upstairs, or were easy to correct. Since short-term renters have a “vacation” mindset and often behave in inconsiderate ways toward those of us who live and work (and need to sleep) here, I’d prefer to keep the revolving door of short-term rentals in a hotel-oriented neighborhood.

  5. The current Governor Cuomo and his talking head brother aren’t anywhere as close to being as liberal as their father used to be. And the current NY Governor is like HRC and Alan Dershowitz — namely, from the boat of pseudo-liberals.

    This situation with airbnb being hit by the NY political establishment is not due to a liberal vs. conservative fight with so-called liberals winning; rather it’s due to government kissing up to concentrated interests with deep pockets: the hotel industry lonny and the labor union lobby,

  6. “Ridiculous” is that so many apartments in the city are now full-time AirBNB units, which drives up the price of rent across the city… And then there’s the impact on the actual residents of those buildings, such as added noise, people coming and going at all hours, parties thrown by these AirBNB people who don’t care about the impact on the real tenants…

    Even if the hotels lobbied for it, this is good for renters throughout the city.

    Sorry, tourists, but y’all can pay – or use points – for your hotel rooms.

  7. Insane increases in already thru the roof taxes causing both businesses and wealthy individuals to more to Florida. Ceasing violent crime control measures that had proven effective. Passing virtually any law or regulation the unions ask for. And now this: NYC takes a few more steps on the path to becoming Detroit East…

  8. @ Happy Renter — thank you for echoing my experience!! Rental price impacts are occurring in my city too.

  9. For those of you complaining about high hotel prices in NYC, it’s nothing compared to the high rents that those of us who live here pay. According to StreetEasy, the typical household that rents in the city are expected to spend 65.2 percent — or nearly two-thirds — of their income on rent. That’s up from 59.7 percent in 2015.

    I honestly don’t have an issue if someone wants to rent out their personal residence while they are not there, but there has been well documented and widespread abuse where apartments have been taken off the market by greedy landlords and turned into full-time Airbnb rentals, which does a disservice to the very people who Airbnb keeps saying that they are helping because it reduces the available supply of apartments which drives up cost given constant or increasing demand.

    Airbnb could have proactively addressed this issue when it was raised as a concern (many times), but they chose to ignore it, and it’s only now when their backs are up against the wall that that are all of a sudden willing to make concessions. Well live by the sword, die by the sword. While I have used the service in the past as a renter, and probably will again in the future, I won’t shed a tear for their current predicament.

  10. Short-sighted government interference. Arizona got it right by passing a law prohibiting municipalities from banning short-term rentals, while at the same time imposing some reasonable regulation (and tax).

  11. Don’t most landlords have rules on sub-letting an apartment? seems to me to be a contract issue more than anything.

  12. Not a lot of tears being shed for NYC renters who voluntarily choose to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world. You literally have 99.9+% of the rest of the US in which to live which is cheaper and you choose to live in the City. Go anywhere else, literally, and it’ll cost you less.

    Anything for more competition.

  13. I like Airbnb and have used it on quite a few occasions in several countries, but I do note that the concept has changed from, say, a couple hosting a guest from time to time in the spare bedroom (the word “air” in the title once referred to “air mattress”), to a full-time commercial enterprise for some, dealing in multiple units in ways that skirt laws. Local authorities do have the right to regulate this type of commercial activity for safety, zoning, noise, taxation and other purposes. I think New York is going too far here in accommodating the unions and hotel lobbyists, but I think Airbnb and some operators (I hesitate to call them “hosts”) are going too far also in taking a useful concept in some wrong directions.

  14. I live in the middle of San Francisco which is the other 0.1%. Just like NYC we have rent control. I believe in free markets. I do not believe in propping up hotel chains. If hotels are struggling then they’ll need to become more competitive or move out of town thus freeing up more space for condos and rentals. The market will find balance and I don’t believe we should be restricting a property owner’s method of rental.

  15. I don’t think its fair for people to run Mini Hotel Operations without paying the Tax Others are subject to. There should be a process through Airbnb to limit the Number of nights per year that an SSN or TIN can rent out a single property tax free. What’s that number? 2 weeks? WHo knows, up For Discussion.

    in defenese of the hotels, and other businesses like BnBs, what’s true of most AIRbnb People is that They Really Undercut Many Prices, which prevents estbalished lodging businesses to fairly compete if there are a lot of rooms are on the martket

  16. Airbnb is a potential security threat. There is no one to ensure that if some one else has stayed in a airbnb home in the name of the booking made by another person. It is a serious threat to both the host as well as from a national security perspective. It won’t be long before an incident is reported involving airbnb on this aspect. Airbnb should be completely banned across the world.

  17. Crony capitalism at its finest. This is the reason Trump polls 40% (though ironically I expect he was one of the hotel owners lobbying Albany). People are sick of stupid government regulations that serve only to capture monopoly profits for favored corporations that kick money to the campaign coffers of elected officials.
    That being said, I’m not sure I would tout Cuba as a success story for the sharing economy…

  18. If AirBnB had DONE SOMETHING seriously about all the NYC abuses, this law would never have been needed. No, they didn’t really care, and didn’t believe they couldn’t buy or lobby their way through this. People visited NYC before AirBnB, and they still will. All that’s changed is, AirBnB will no longer be a player there.

  19. @Boraxo

    Sorry to inform you, but the “sharing economy” is finished. It’s Trump or Crooked Hillary (both white and glad to be white), and neither will continue this socialism that counterfeits competition.

    Socialism = sharing economy
    Cash to mafia = climate change.
    AirBNB = quasi-theft against stature.

  20. The NYC hotel union is incredibly powerful and has long had a relationship with Cuomo. This is a union in which maids can make $70K a year, so it has real influence. Add to this the popular anger at the shortage of affordable housing and it’s no surprise that AirBNB ended up in the crosshairs. Unlike Uber, which won a victory against an assault by the taxi lobby, the company has been completely tone deaf and alienated the political class right up until the end.

  21. Most of us in Manhattan live in apartments and most buildings do not have security. We do not like daily streams of unknown people coming and going from the unit down the hall. Vacationers do not always behave `neighborly’. Happy Renter is correct.

  22. There’s no evidence that Airbnb makes a building less safe or causes rents to go up. Nobody has done studies. The plural of anecdote is not data.

    Before Airbnb, there were plenty of other sites which allowed people to post or book vacation rentals.

    This is really more a battle of competing moneyed interests.

    It’s interesting that some of the people here say they’re happy to use vacation apartments for their vacations but they don’t want their neighbors to rent out vacation apartments.

  23. @wco — If you’re referring to me when you say this, “It’s interesting that some of the people here say they’re happy to use vacation apartments for their vacations but they don’t want their neighbors to rent out vacation apartments,” let’s be clear: I didn’t say that. I said AirBnB gives me more choices — I’ve looked at the options, but actually, I’ve never used AirBnB or other short-term rental apartments. So am I “happy to use vacation apartments”? Who knows? Others might be. Maybe I will be in the future.

    I think the key is locate them properly and regulate them to ensure quality of life for long-term residents. Full disclosure to all long-term residents would also be great, to allow full and free information and freedom of choice for long-term residents — not a bait-and-switch situation like I experienced.

  24. As someone who lives in NYC I applaud this. The rents here are astronomical and the last thing we want is landlords saving apartments for airbnb. Just suck it up and pay for a hotel room.

  25. I absolutely abhor a city prohibiting free enterprise in the way that NYC is prohibiting landowners from renting out rooms. It’s a corrupt decision. The hotel lobbyists are controlling the politics of the city. Do VFTW readers seriously oppose free-market capitalism? Owners are willing to rent at a cheaper price than hotel chains. Owners OWN THEIR PROPERTY and are entitled to rent it as they please. The heart of the issue is that hotel chains are pissed about having to pay a hotel tax, while AirBnB owners don’t. The tax is disgusting, it’s just a way for corrupt govt to steal from citizens, so I’m in favor of removing the hotel tax I’m 100% OPPPOSED to the city’s decision to block AirBnB business. Since when did Americans become such pushovers? Do you seriously support a govt who tells you what you can do with YOUR HOME? I’m sickened by the number of people who willingly give up their freedoms.

  26. Can you have a meth lab in your home?

    The city and state govt. shouldn’t have any say about it?

  27. This article was not about meth. It was about businesses lobbying to get their competitors (the public) shut down, instead of hotels working to become more competitive. Homeowners lose, and renters lose. Big business wins.

  28. @Lindy – because the mentality is switching to “the government will take care of me” and people are willing to give up freedoms in order for that to happen. It is discouraging.

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