When you travel to another city, you need somewhere to stay – a place that is suitable for your needs and affordable. You may choose a hotel, but the prices for hotels tend to be very fancy. Airbnb gives you the opportunity to live in someone else’s home and it may be just what you are looking for. Airbnb is an online rental market place that allows people to rent short-term lodging properties such as apartment rentals, hotel rentals, and vacation rentals. Airbnb has always been a controversial topic, having many agreeing with the idea and many disagreeing. Of course the most recent talk of the town was about the new Airbnb law issued in New York City. Airbnb New York has had its ups but the question remains, what is the deal with Airbnb New York right now?
New Airbnb law in New York
New York City is the nation’s largest short-term rental market, facilitated by hosting websites such as Airbnb. This is understandable given the high cost of hotel rooms in the city. However, just recently, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill making it illegal to advertise entire unoccupied apartments for less than 30 days on Airbnb. This means that the majority of entire home/apartment listings that you find on Airbnb and other sites for New York City would be considered illegal if this 30-day period is not met. Airbnb opposed the measure, and did campaigns to defend their position. However, Airbnb did not actively help city or state officials limit illegal listings on their sites and, according to data supplied by Airbnb, entire home listings outnumber listings for private rooms or shared spaces on their platform for New York City.
Shared rentals, or those where the host is present throughout the stay, are considered legal in New York. And certain dwellings, like one-family and two-family homes, can be rented out legally, whether or not a host is present. Essentially, this new advertising law in New York enforces existing state law, and it holds users of Airbnb directly accountable for violating that law.
Many New Yorker’s who make extra money by offering their apartments for short-term rental through Airbnb were drastically affected when this law was issued. Not only hosts, but also the guests that relied on Airbnb New York as a cheaper alternative were also affected from this law. Airbnb argued that this law is “unlawful” and sued New York City this past year, but dropped the lawsuit after it settled with the City in December. Airbnb agreed to allow New York to pursue violators so long as prosecutors only went after hosts, as opposed to the company itself. Airbnb recommended limiting hosts from having more than one listing, in an effort to help the unavailability of permanent housing.
Impact of Airbnb rentals on New York City’s housing
Short-term rental activity is increasingly creating distortions in the residential rental market in New York City. If established into the permanent housing supply, the impact of Airbnb listings could increase the number of vacant residential units in New York City by 10%. This increase in vacancies could drive the vacancy rate up nearly one percentage point, decreasing some of the challenges that extremely low vacancy rates can cause. Neighborhoods with intense Airbnb activity are also marked by increasing rental asking prices and changes in neighborhood composition, showing a strong relation between the median asking prices and the number of Airbnb listings at the neighborhood level. While it may seem that Airbnb New York affects the New York real estate negatively, it does not seem this way for Airbnb.
Some say, in a city like New York City, where prices are too high for ordinary people to afford, Airbnb shouldn’t be blamed for exacerbating the situation. Many others claim that Airbnb is affecting prices of both rent and purchases and disturbing property markets and contributing to higher rents. Yet everyone has a different perspective when it comes to Airbnb New York. Some say it’s especially beneficial for tourists and people who can’t afford to rent. Others say its impact on New York City’s housing is disturbing.
What does that mean for travelers?
The law will impose certain limits on what kind of property visitors can rent for short-term travelers to New York. This means that weekend travelers or anyone staying in the city or state for less than a month cannot rent an entire house or apartment in buildings with three or more units. They can however rent out individual rooms or other shared living arrangements for short time periods, as well as row houses that have fewer than three apartments in the building.
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