Crackdown on short-term rentals causes trouble for travellers, hosts

Some hosts of smaller homes said they were being unfairly targeted and lumped in with larger apartment buildings.

“I think this is a huge indication that our elected officials have let us down,” said Krystal Payne, who lives in a two-family home in Brooklyn and had been renting out one of the apartments to help pay her mortgage.

The regulations were adopted by the city in January of last year, but were held up by legal action until last month.

While online rental listing services gave travellers more options in New York — and were a financial windfall to residents who rented out their homes while away on holidays — they also led to complaints about scarce housing in residential neighbourhoods being gobbled up by tourists.

Regular tenants complained about buildings that suddenly felt like hotels, with strangers in their hallways and occasional parties in rented units. Investors snapped up units in condominium buildings, or whole townhouses, then made a fortune doing nightly rentals prohibited by law.


“Registration creates a clear path for hosts who follow the city’s longstanding laws and protects travellers from illegal and unsafe accommodations, while ending the proliferation of illegal short-term rentals,” Christian Klossner, executive director of the city’s Office of Special Enforcement, said in a statement.

In guidance posted after the legal decision last month, Airbnb told New York City hosts that they should either register with the city or convert to hosting long-term stays if possible.

The company also said any existing short-term reservation with a check-in by December 1 would be allowed to go forward, with processing fees refunded, while those with check-in dates after that would be cancelled and refunded.

Airbnb’s global policy director, Theo Yedinsky, called the rule changes a blow to “the thousands of New Yorkers and small businesses in the outer boroughs who rely on home sharing and tourism dollars to help make ends meet.”

“The city is sending a clear message to millions of potential visitors who will now have fewer accommodation options when they visit New York City: ‘You are not welcome,’” he said.


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