Ron Herschco on Illegal NYC Housing Laws

Global rental website Airbnb, which connects short-term renters with budget priced room rentals, has found themselves on the wrong side of the law in NYC. Residents are restricted by NYC law from renting out rooms or apartments for fewer than 30 days, unless they are also living in the home as the same time as the visitor. This is contradicts the basic business plan of Airbnb.

Earlier this month, Ron Hershco commented on the Department of Buildings cracking down on real estate agents and brokers. Now it seems they are heavily pursuing non-licensed renters and average home owners as well.

According to Time Magazine it is not the first time Airbnb has been in trouble:

No stranger to similar controversies in other cities, Airbnb released a statement saying it will continue to fight the legal battle. While its  terms of service say that users are fully liable for complying with local laws, the company maintains that New York City’s laws are not aimed at individual tenants, but instead at preventing landlords from buying residential buildings and operating them as hotels, reports CNN Money. The San Francisco-based company, which currently operates in over 33,000 cities in 192 countries, has raised the ire of authorities elsewhere — most recently in Amsterdam, where the main issue is that local laws, such as paying tourist taxes, are circumvented with Airbnb transactions.

Since New York City’s mayor’s office of special enforcement began carefully scrutinizing short-term rental issues in 2006, it has received more than 3,000 complaints, conducted nearly 2,000 inspections and issued nearly 6,000 notices of violation, according to the New York Times. In January, the travel news site Skift estimated that approximately half of Airbnb’s listings  in New York City “are likely illegal.”

Have you ever rented to or from someone that could violate this new law? Do you know anyone who has?

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