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AirBnB Smashed By $5000 Fines In New York, Will This Affect Big Apple Tourism?

Iamge: Screen capture. Searching for rental rooms in St. Kitts and Nevis.

Under a new law that came into force yesterday, all housing rentals under 30-days must register with the City of New York, and will not be allowed unless the landlords themselves live on the property and share their home, like a traditional bed-and-breakfast.

This will immediately decrease the amount of accommodation available in the city for tourists, in a city where the hotel rooms are know for being extremely expensive and very small.

5,300 existing reservations could be affected during the first week of enforcement.

New York City’s Short Term Rental registration Law took effect March 6, 2023. It prohibits rental companies like Airbnb, Vrbo and Booking.com from processing transactions for unregistered rentals.

There will be a $5000 fine for renting without registering.

New York City’s new short-term rental rules are a blow to its tourism economy and 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,” Theo Yedinsky, global policy director for Airbnb, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, per the New York Times, some critics “say the city is bending to the lobbying of the hotel industry and locking out cheaper options for visitors.”

Some also say that guests are often rowdy or otherwise disruptive and belong in proper hotels, not residential apartment buildings.

If the city’s move has the desired effect without dramatically curtailing tourism, it could turn into a blueprint for other cities looking to reduce short-term rentals.

Any such domino effect would come at a less-than-ideal time for Airbnb, which is taking steps to address criticisms that what was once a cheaper, easier hotel alternative has become overly expensive and burdensome thanks to high fees, cleaning requirements and more.

Airbnb has called the rules a de facto ban on short-term rentals.

Some industry stakeholders believe other cities in the US might follow suit. City councils in DallasPhiladelphia and New Orleans have passed their own restrictions on short-term rentals.

There are about 38,500 Airbnb listings in the New York City, not counting hotels that list on the platform, the report said. The annual net revenue for these listings is $85 million. The city estimates there are about 10,800 illegal short-term rentals citywide.

Local politicians and housing advocates argue that the new rules will safeguard the availability of affordable housing, while some property owners say Airbnb rentals offer reliable supplementary income, the Gothamist reported.

“We’re trying to find a path forward with the city but for the moment, it’s going to be complicated,” Nathan Rotman, Senior Public Policy Manager at Airbnb, told the Gothamist. “Parts of the city are going to lose out on the economic opportunity these visitors bring, and a lot of hosts are going to lose what little income they make from the short-term renting that they do on an occasional basis.”

Short-term Airbnb rentals are a major feature of tourism in the Caribbean, particularly in the Dominican Republic.

A recent search on the AirBnb Web site offered 362 short term rentals available in St. Kitts and Nevis for later this month. Some of these appear to be rooms or apartments within hotels, while others are freestanding homes.

Source: Housingwire.com