Airbnb wants to crack down on some unfitting hosts in New York City in order to avoid a bigger hassle if new legislation passes.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo has a big decision to make in less than a fortnight: pass or dump a new bill that would slap hefty fines on some NYC Airbnb hosts.
Should this bill pass, it could deal a heavy blow to Airbnb, so the home-sharing company is looking to counter the new legislation with newly proposed rules. In a bid to convince Cuomo to drop the bill, Airbnb announced on Oct. 19 that it has a list of new measures that should appease disgruntled parties.
The bill in question aims to crack down on people who use Airbnb to promote accommodation that violates state laws regarding illegal hotels. A first offense would net a $1,000 fine, a second violation would go up to $5,000 while subsequent offenses could rack up as much as $7,500 in fines.
These offenses cover any violations of NYC state rules for lodging. For instance, the state prohibits renting a space in an apartment building for a period shorter than 30 days. Airbnb itself reckons that many of its members have ignored this rule but wants to make amends.
The home-sharing company proposes new rules that will serve as the basis for new legislation in the state.
First and foremost, Airbnb will not allow members to list more than one house within the five boroughs and will require hosts to pay local taxes. The company portrays itself as the ally of middle-income residents in the fight against the greedy hotel industry.
"This would help ensure that home-sharing does not remove permanent housing from the rental market — and enable regulators to target enforcement at truly bad actors, while allowing everyday New Yorkers to occasionally rent their own home," explains Chris Lehane of New York Daily News.
"While a change in state law is essential to enforcing this provision, Airbnb will demonstrate our commitment to protecting permanent housing in New York by automatically preventing hosts in residential properties from having more than one home within the city starting Nov. 1."
The proposed action aims to influence Cuomo's upcoming decision in Airbnb's favor, especially since New York is one of its more profitable markets.
However, NYC has been trying to battle income inequality, and Airbnb has been criticized for driving increasingly larger rental costs and giving property owners an unfair advantage by allowing them to offer short-term rentals for big profits.
It remains to be seen whether Airbnb's proposed measures will be enough to stop the bill from passing, but we'll keep you up to date as soon as we get more information.