Facing legislation, Airbnb proposes new rules in New York

Facing legislation, Airbnb proposes new rules in New York

Posted 15 minutes ago by Kate Conger (@kateconger)
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With new legislation that would inflict heavy fines on Airbnb hosts sitting on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk, Airbnb is proposing last-minute concessions to address the concerns over affordable housing that are driving the legislation.

Among the company’s proposals is a new “one host, one home” rule that would allow New York users to only list one space for rent on the home-sharing platform. The plan is designed to keep landlords from pulling multiple housing units off the market to rent them exclusively on Airbnb. Hosts who own multiple properties can often make more money renting to tourists on Airbnb, but housing activists in New York and across the country say that this practice eliminates much-needed units from the market and drives housing costs up throughout the city.

Airbnb also offered to build a digital registration system for the city of New York, much like the one it created recently in Chicago. San Francisco requires Airbnb hosts to register with the city in a complicated, paper-only process — the outcome Airbnb is trying to avoid repeating in New York. The plan also includes a “three strikes rule” that would boot hosts off Airbnb if they are found to violate local regulations three times, and encourages New York to collect taxes from hosts and put the funds toward programs to prevent homelessness.

“Unfortunately, current state law does not distinguish between everyday New Yorkers who occasionally rent out their homes to make ends meet and illegal hotel operators who remove permanent housing from the market,” Airbnb’s policy team wrote in a memo outlining the plan.

Airbnb’s proposal is a gesture to demonstrate that the company can work with regulators instead of fighting them, and seems designed to send a message to Cuomo that the proposed legislation is not necessary. The bill, sponsored by Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, would fine hosts $7,500 dollars if they were caught posting illegal listings on Airbnb. In a press release, Rosenthal and State Senator Liz Krueger called the proposal by Airbnb a “PR stunt.”

“What Airbnb fails to realize is that one unit of affordable housing lost represents one family who will not be able to find a home in New York, and that is simply unacceptable,” Rosenthal told the New York Daily News.

Airbnb says the new policy proposal will go into effect on November 1. Cuomo has until October 29 to sign or veto the bill.

Featured Image: Chesnot / Contributor/Getty Images UNDER A Chesnot / Contributor LICENSE
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