A newly proposed bill by the New York City Council has created clear battle lines in an already tense debate about how to regulate illegal sublets in the city.
The bill would require AirBnb (and any other short-term rental platform) to hand over addresses of their listings to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement. It would also require hosts using the platforms to provide their names and addresses as well as additional information regarding the residence. The penalty if either AirBnB or a host refuses to supply the information? A hefty $25,000 fine.
Some hosts who legally use the home sharing site claim the city is simply anti AirBnB, but the most vocal opponent is, not surprisingly, AirBnB itself. The company launched a million dollar ad campaign against the bill and it’s sponsors. The company accuses the city of false reporting, being unnecessarily punitive, and also being funded by the special interests of the hotel industry.
The City Council claims that sites like AirBnB are driving up rents, decreasing the availability of affordable housing, and making illegal sublets possible and increasingly attractive. One city councilman directly refuted one of AirBnB’s claims in an op-ed piece stating,
“Let me be crystal clear: I’m not talking about the young couple with the townhouse that rents out a spare room a few times a year for supplemental income to help pay their mortgage; I’m talking about the professional landlords who have converted their homes into completely illegal hotels.”
While the debate abounds, one thing is clear: the council already has the votes to pass the bill and although it targets landlords who flaunt the law and willingly profit off illegal sublets, they won’t be the only ones affected.
If you’re concerned of illegal sublets in any of your buildings, contact LeaseAbuse to see how we can help you avoid hefty fines.