The number of options available to Airbnb users looking for a weekend getaway in New York City has dwindled to 15,000 listings.
There are still only 3,400 New York City apartments available for short-term bookings on vacation rental site Airbnb, according to data from a monitoring group — nearly 9,000 full-property rentals down from the previous month.
The listings were changed as part of a new rule that went into effect Sept. 5 that requires short-term rental hosts to register with the city in order to get paid through sites like Airbnb. Entire apartment listings, which in most cases are illegal, are being blocked from being registered – amounting to what Airbnb has called a “virtual ban” on popular vacation rentals.
In order to comply with the rule, Airbnb has converted many unregistered listings to long-term rentals, which are exempt from this requirement. The average Airbnb in New York City now rents for at least 29 days — up from just 19 days in August.
Nearly 4,000 more Airbnb listings have been taken offline, estimates Murray Cox, who downloads the data from the short-term rental website of the advocacy group Inside Airbnb.
Hundreds of listings that have been swapped or removed were not, in fact, illegal at all. These tenancies for shared flats have met the strict conditions for statutory tenancies but are not yet registered.
Gothamist previously reported that the sign-up process was slow. As of Aug. 28, hosts had submitted 3,250 applications, about a quarter of which have been reviewed, according to data from the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement, which is tasked with enforcing rules around short-term rentals.
“OSE’s initial phase of enforcement of Local Code 18 focused on collaborating with booking platforms to ensure they use the city’s verification system, and that legal activity remains and thrives on their sites,” said Christian Klausner, Executive Director of the Office of Special Services. Mandatory. “These statements confirm Airbnb’s commitment to working with the City and complying with the law.”
The registration portal opened in the spring, but nearly half of the applications didn’t pour in until after August, the office said — when a judge dismissed a pair of lawsuits brought by Airbnb and hosts trying to block the rules from taking effect.
This is a big change for Airbnb and its peers, who aim to provide comfortable accommodations in neighborhoods with few hotels. Hosts who rely on the platform for income say the change will make it harder to pay their bills.
Meanwhile, housing advocates argue that sites like Airbnb are pulling much-needed rental units off the market. They have said they hope the new rule will put a stop to Airbnb entrepreneurs who buy and rent homes in upscale neighborhoods for a living.
“If you’re a legal host, and you comply with city and state laws, there’s nothing to worry about,” Tom Keeler, a supporter of the law who chairs the West Side Neighborhood Alliance’s Illegal Hotels Committee, told Gothamist in June. “On the contrary, if you’re doing it illegally, you might want to find another way to make a living.”
Gothamist has reached out to Airbnb for comment.