More than 10,000 Airbnb listings for short-term rentals in New York City are likely to disappear when tight new housing rules take effect next year, says the Adams administration official tasked with enforcing the forthcoming regulations.
The rules, set to be implemented Jan. 9, will require all Airbnb hosts in the city to register their units with Mayor Adams’ Office of Special Enforcement.
In addition, Airbnb will be barred from processing payments for any hosts who fail to register — and the office’s executive director, Christian Klossner, said those requirements will root out thousands of illegal listings across the five boroughs that are currently advertised on the platform.
“Approximately 10,000 active listings offering illegal occupancy will either be shut down or come into compliance,” Klossner said in an interview Friday.
As of this week, there are nearly 40,000 Airbnb listings in the city, according to data from Inside Airbnb, an independent watchdog group.
Airbnb has sharply opposed the rules.
In a statement, the company said they will result in a “draconian and unworkable registration system that will prevent lawful and responsible hosts from listing their homes.”
On a public comment website maintained by the Mayor’s Office of Operations, more than 150 people have over the past month submitted testimony. Many of the testimonials are from New Yorkers who fear the new rules will make it harder for them to rent out their homes via Airbnb.
“It’s the kind of despicable, bureaucratic act that makes me want to move out of this once great city,” commented Aron Watman, who identified himself as an Airbnb host in Brooklyn.
Under existing law, it’s only legal for New Yorkers to rent out a section of their homes for short-term use — not the entire dwelling.
Hosts must also under existing law reside in their apartments while renting parts of them out on a short-term basis, which is defined as less than 30 days, meaning it is illegal for someone to temporarily sublet their home while away on vacation.
However, Klossner said thousands of Airbnb hosts are currently able to skirt those restrictions because of a lack of oversight.
“It’s unfortunately very easy right now to break the law,” Klossner said.
He said that will change with the new registration requirements.
Under the proposed new rules, short-term rental hosts must furnish Klossner’s office with the full legal names of all residents of a given dwelling, as well as proof of the unit’s permanent status, such as a lease. Hosts must also certify that their rentals abide by local building codes, zoning requirements and safety regulations.
If hosts do not produce the required information to Klossner’s office, they will not receive registration credentials — and Airbnb will be prohibited by law from processing payments to them.
If it processes payments for unregistered hosts, Airbnb could face fines of $1,500 per violation, the new rules state. Hosts who rent out unregistered units could be fined $5,000.
“The registration system will have a very significant effect,” Klossner said. “It will allow hosts to know for sure what is and isn’t legal, and bring the scale of enforcement down to a level where the focus can be on those remaining individuals determined to try to find a way around the law.”
In July, while announcing a lawsuit against an alleged short-term rental slumlord, Mayor Adams said the housing crisis has been exacerbated by apartments being used as illegal Airbnb operations instead of permanent homes.
“Our administration is determined to preserve affordable housing and cracking down on illegal short term renters are one way we are going to accomplish that aspect,” he said.