Airbnb bookings are drying up in New York as new short-stay rules are introduced | Airbnb

Home-sharing company Airbnb said it was forced to stop accepting some reservations in New York City after new regulations on short-term rentals went into effect.

The new rules aim to end the free-for-all situation in which landlords and residents rent out their apartments by the week or night to tourists or others in town for short stays. Defenders of the practice say it has increased housing demand in already scarce neighborhoods in the city.

Under the new system, rentals of less than 30 days are only allowed if hosts register with the city. Hosts must also commit to being physically present in the home for the duration of the lease, sharing living quarters with their guest. Also, no more than two guests are allowed at the same time, effectively banning families.

Platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, and others are not allowed to process rentals for unregistered hosts — and as of early this week, very few have been able to successfully sign up. The city says it has approved just under 300 of the more than 3,800 applications it has received.

Officials and housing advocates who have pushed for the restrictions say they are necessary to prevent apartments from becoming de facto hotels.

“In New York City, condos should be for residential use,” said Murray Cox of Inside Airbnb, a housing advocacy group that collects data on the company’s presence in cities around the world.

Airbnb has challenged the rules in court, arguing that they were essentially a ban and would harm visitors looking for affordable accommodations.

People are protesting a New York City law against short-term rentals. Photograph: Brendan McDiarmid/Reuters

The company’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 money to help make ends meet.”

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

However, the company was forced to follow the new rules, and said that since August 21 it has stopped accepting new short-term reservations from any host who has not provided a city registration number or documentation indicating it is in process. Once a city’s verification system is fully operational, Airbnb says no short-term listings will be allowed on its site without a registration number.

AirBnb had 38,500 active non-hotel listings in New York City as of January, and some hosts of smaller homes said they were unfairly targeted and bundled with larger apartment buildings.

The city adopted the regulations in January last year, but they were delayed by legal action until last month.

And while online rental listing services have given travelers more choice in New York — and have been a financial windfall for residents who rent while on vacation — they have also led to complaints about a dearth of housing in tourist-booked neighborhoods.

Ordinary tenants complained about buildings suddenly becoming like hotels, with strangers in their hallways and occasional parties in rented units. Investors have acquired units in apartment buildings, or entire townhouses, and then amassed a fortune through overnight rentals, which are prohibited by law.

“Registration creates a clear path for hosts who follow old city laws and protects travelers from illegal and unsafe accommodations, while ending the proliferation of illegal short-term rentals,” said Christian Klausner, executive director of the City’s Office of Special Enforcement. a permit.

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

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