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The end of Airbnb: New York imposes severe restrictions on short-term rentals


Alina Prikhodko

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Gone are the days of elegant apartments in the city center equipped for bachelorette parties, cozy two- and three-room apartments near museums for family vacations, and even the opportunity to rent an apartment for a weekend when a person is away. Although airbnb, vrbo and other companies may continue to operate in New York, new rules so strict that Airbnb views them as a “virtual ban” on its activities, according to Wired.

Local Law No. 18, which went into effect on Tuesday, September 5, is so strict that it doesn't just limit Airbnb operations in the city - it almost completely bans it for many guests and hosts. From now on, everyone who rents short-term housing in New York City must register with the city government, and only those who live in the rental property and are present when someone stays can become eligible to rent. In this case, a person can only have two guests.

Short term rentals can bring noise, litter and danger, as well as push local residents out of their own neighborhoods. Some New York City landlords are active and have hundreds of listings on Airbnb. But other New Yorkers who have listed on Airbnb are trying to make ends meet by renting out their place when they leave town or renting half of a semi-detached house to cover mortgage costs.

Airbnb is popular with travelers looking for accommodations that are cheaper and sometimes more spacious than hotels. New York generated $2022 million in short-term rental income in 85 alone. The city may be a relatively small part of Airbnb's global marketplace, but the new rules show how local governments can effectively crack down on short-term rentals and reduce their impact on densely populated communities. quarters.

worldwide boom

New York is just one of many cities around the world trying to calm the "gold rush" of short-term rentals. Each city takes its own approach. Dallas has restricted short-term rentals to certain areas to avoid dangerous parties. In the Canadian province of Quebec and Memphis, Tennessee, a short-term rental license is now required. San Francisco has limited the amount of time an individual can list their entire Airbnb listing to 90 days a year; in Amsterdam this limit is 30 nights per year, in Paris it is 120 days. Berlin had previously banned almost all Airbnb, but reversed that decision in 2018.

Airbnb's reaction to the new law

Airbnb's attempts to fight the new law have so far been unsuccessful. In June, the company sued New York, but in August a judge dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that the restrictions were “quite rational.” Airbnb did not comment on whether it would appeal the decision. The landlords are also fighting for the right to rent out their apartments short-term, meeting with city officials to try to change the law.

The rules “hit the city’s tourism economy and the thousands of New Yorkers and small businesses in the Outer Neighborhood who rely on homesharing and travel dollars to make ends meet,” says Theo Jedinsky, director of global policy for Airbnb.

“The city is sending a clear message to the millions of potential tourists who will now have fewer accommodation options when visiting New York: You are not welcome.” Airbnb's goal is to work with the city on "reasonable" sharing policies, Jedinsky said, but he didn't elaborate on the company's next steps.


There are currently over 40 Airbnb properties in New York City, according to the site. Inside Airbnb, which tracks ads on the platform. As of June, 22 of them were rented for short periods, ie. for a period of less than 434 days. Many Airbnb apartments are located in Midtown Manhattan, on the Upper East Side, as well as in Williamsburg and Park Slope in Brooklyn.

Although the number of apartments for rent is negligible compared to New York's population of 8 million, Murray Cox, founder of Inside Airbnb, argues that some high-end neighborhoods are overloaded with short-term rentals, which can lead to housing shortages and higher rents. New York City is experiencing a housing shortage, leading to rising rents and an increase in the number of homeless people. The new law could theoretically open these areas to local residents.

New York City has an old law that bans short-term rentals of entire apartments for less than 30 days, but it's hard to enforce without a mandatory registration law going into effect.

Exacerbating the sudden shortage of Airbnb in New York is another piece of a new law that allows landlords to ban short-term rentals of entire buildings. As of July, there were about 9 buildings on this list throughout New York.

New York short-term rental laws do not apply to some rental apartments that are zoned as hotels and boarding houses.

Impact on the locals

Some owners of small apartments feel that the law unfairly places them on a par with professional landlords. Margenette Moore-Roberts rents out a three-room apartment in her Brooklyn mansion; in another apartment she lives with her husband and teenage daughter. She says she doesn't want to rent out the apartment to a permanent tenant and lose the ability to host family and friends there or, as she did during the pandemic, use it as a home office. But under the new rules, she can no longer list Airbnb listings for less than 30 days.

Restore Homeowner Autonomy and Rights, a New York City homeowner group, is advocating a rule change that would allow owners of one- and two-family apartments to register without a capacity limit. They believe that people like Moore-Roberts should be able to rent out and that they don't fall into the same category as large homeowners.

Moore-Roberts says she's not against changing the rules entirely, but she wants the law to be reworked with more nuance to protect single-unit tenants like her.

Cancel Reservation

Airbnb said it is canceling and refunding bookings for unbooked listings starting December 2, but bookings made before December 1 remain in place to reduce the impact on hosts and guests. Guests will not be penalized if they book and stay in unregistered accommodations, but hosts and the platforms they list on may be penalized starting September 5th.

Since August 14th, unregistered accommodation has been blocked for bookings after September 5th, but a search has shown that dozens of entire apartments for more than two people are still available for bookings after September 5th. airbnb has not commented on why these ads are still on the platform. Vrbo declined to comment and did not respond to a request for comment.

According to Christian Klossner, chief executive Office of Special Enforcement in New York, by August 28, 3250 short-term landlords had applied to register. More than 800 applications were reviewed, of which the agency granted 257, returned 479 for additional information or corrections, and denied registration of 72.

Starting Tuesday, management will focus on working with booking platforms to make sure they use the check-in verification system and don't process unverified transactions, Klossner said.

More cities are trying to restrict Airbnb, but the company continues to grow. In the second quarter of 2023, it earned $2,5 billion, up 18% from the previous year, while the number of nights booked on the platform increased by 11% over the same period.

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