New York City Council has unanimously voted to put a restriction on online home rental services including Airbnb.
The city council has mirrored the same initiative made by many cities to step up its regulation. The bill will require Airbnb to give the names and addresses of its host to the Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement and identify whether the rental is just for a single room or a whole apartment.
Restrictions On Hosts
Due to New York firm laws on homes that are permitted to be listed, a lot of hosts has chosen to go around it. This could affect the host more since the city can find and fine them easier.
Should the bill be signed into a law, the "City That Never Sleeps" will be on the same league as Barcelona, Spain, Vancouver, British Colombia, San Francisco, and New Orleans, in setting the same ground rules for companies who earn money from taking charge of short-term rentals.
The city of New York is the largest market of the home-sharing startup. The law dictates that renting apartments in most buildings for less than 30 days is illegal unless the tenant is in the apartment at the same time as the guest.
Furthermore, the disclosure requirement would make it easier for the authorities to enforce the state law which could lead to over 50,000 Airbnb units to be unavailable on the market. According to reports, the similar rule taken out in San Francisco decreased the listings by half.
New York Crisis
Before the voting happened, Council speaker Corey Johnson said that the vacancy rate in the city is low. It is in a cheap housing crisis, even a homelessness crisis, and Airbnb would not give the city the needed data.
A city hall spokeswoman stated that Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the said bill into a law. The mayor considers affordable housing as one of his priorities.
Home-sharing companies will face a fine of up to $1,500 for every listing it does not disclose, which is a substantial decrease from the initially proposed amount of $25,000.
Airbnb, as expected, is against the bill. The company argues that it will have a negative impact on New Yorkers who were renting out the spare rooms in their apartment to save money and pay the bills.
In the debate, Airbnb has released a list of the hotel industry's contribution to the campaigns of Council members.