New York City just passed a new law that further restricts how Airbnb hosts can operate, thus excluding many potential short-term rental hosts in the Big Apple. The law, which passed 45-to-0 in a city council vote, requires Airbnb to disclose information on all NYC Airbnb hosts to the city. View the text of the legislation here (PDF download).
It comes as little surprise as the city has already taken steps to enforce New York state law. State law makes it illegal to rent apartments in most buildings, namely Class A dwellings, for fewer than 30 days unless the owner is living on the property during the guest’s stay.
Although the crackdown on illegal short-term rentals affects the availability of home rentals in one of the world’s largest tourism destinations, Mayor Bill de Blasio says that he supports the bill.
However, Airbnb has clearly taken opposition to the new law by helping a host to file a lawsuit against New York City. In the lawsuit, the host accused city officials of retailing against him for his public support of short-term home rentals.
Chris Lehane, head of global policy at Airbnb, emphasized the company’s position on the new law stating that the policy will cause innocent hosts who are operating within the law to be subjected to over-policing and privacy violations.
The Argument Over Airbnb’s Impact in NYC Continues
Lehane, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton, also accused the supporters of the bill of putting the interests of hotel owners and unions ahead of ordinary New Yorkers.
“This is a bill that really is designed to benefit the hotel industry,” Lehane said in a conference call with reporters.
For years, housing advocates have argued that short-term rentals in New York contribute to rising rents and gentrification. On the other hand, Airbnb has argued that homeowners are able to afford their mortgages thanks to hosting on the company’s platform.
Airbnb only continues to grow globally with a current valuation of about $31 billion despite being at odds with local governments around the world.
“This is about preserving as much affordable housing and housing stock as possible,” said Carlina Rivera, the councilwoman who was responsible for introducing the bill.
Council speaker Corey Johnson has also been highly critical of Airbnb, stating that property managers were using Airbnb’s services as a means of dodging the taxes and safety regulations that come along with legal hotel and apartment rentals.
Here’s What NYC Airbnb Hosts Should Do Now
In light of these new developments, it’s more important than ever for Airbnb hosts in NYC to stay on top of compliance regulations. In addition to making sure that any illegal NYC listings are removed from the platforms, hosts should also make sure that they file all taxes related to Airbnb.
Now that the battle over Airbnb host records has begun, we anticipate that the next step will likely be audits of Airbnb hosts in order to determine how much of an impact Airbnb rentals have had on New York City. In addition, the city will likely also use the records to levy fines on Airbnb hosts who continued to rent their properties illegally even after the new rules went into effect.
If you need assistance with preparing Airbnb taxes or you still have questions about previously submitted filings, contact our offices to get help today.