New York City Council Bill Would Tighten Airbnb Regulations

Ben Kallos, Board Member and Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb (Getty, iStock)

Renting an apartment in New York could become more difficult.

City council member Ben Kallos on Wednesday introduced a bill that would require apartments rented through roommate sites such as Airbnb to be registered with the city, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The bill aims to reduce the number of illegal short-term rentals and increase the stock of permanent housing in the city, the publication reported. He also hopes to reduce competition for the hospitality industry, which has suffered significant losses due to the pandemic.

Renting an entire apartment in a building of three or more units for less than 30 days is illegal in the city, but the mayor’s office of special authorities usually only finds out if a neighbor complains.

Kallos believes his bill would prevent thousands of illegal short-term rentals from being listed on Airbnb and other sites, the publication reported. Airbnb opposes the measure.

Alex Dagg, Airbnb’s northeast policy director, suggested the legislation would curb tourism when the city is in desperate need of it, but told the Journal: “We remain ready and willing to partner with those responsible for tourism. ‘State and city to regulate the sharing of housing in the five boroughs. in a responsible and thoughtful manner.

Airbnb customers contribute billions of dollars to the city’s tourism industry and supported 17,000 jobs in 2019, according to the publication. But the apartments they use are not available to tenants, compounding the housing shortage and the city’s affordability problem. They also turn visitors away from hotels, angering the hotel industry and the politically active Hotel Trades Council, which represents hotel workers.

The proposed legislation comes as the restrictions related to the pandemic end and a big year for the opening of new hotels is planned.

Registrants would get a registration number that would be displayed on the platform, and the city would be required to maintain an electronic system for short-term rental sites to verify that a unit was registered.

[WSJ] – Cordilia James

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