Web-based home sharing service Airbnb has taken the unusual step of representing a user in court, appealing a fine an Airbnb user was instructed to pay in administrative court in Manhattan on his behalf, WNYC reported.
Posts Tagged ‘airbnb’
Apartment dwellers who use Airbnb to rent out their rooms are worried they’ll lose out on the extra income, following a court decision this week that upheld a $2,400 fine against an Upper East Side landlord who used the service, DNAinfo reported.
Airbnb, a website that offers apartment rentals by the night, could produce $1 billion in New York City’s economic activity this year, according to figures acquired by Crain’s. That’s despite the city’s recent efforts to enforce a 2011 state law prohibiting short-term rentals.
About 87 percent of the site’s listings are for apartments in Manhattan neighborhoods outside of the hotel-heavy stretch from 14th to 59th streets, the newspaper said. [more]
Four major providers of short-term rental services have banded together to create a legislative blueprint that they hope will guide how cities set short-term rental regulations, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Airbnb, HomeAway, TripAdvisor and FlipKey announced today that they have launched the Short Term Rental Advocacy Center, a website that will aggregate short-term-rental-friendly regulations from around the country. The group calls for cities to tax short-term rentals in a manner akin to how hotels and inns are taxed. Cities that ban short-term rentals, the group said in a press release, stand to lose out on significant tax revenues, and current regulation was more than sufficient. [more]
Principals of the hospitality website Airbnb, which allows homeowners or renters to lease their spaces to visitors on a short-term basis while out of town, are working to change local laws which make it difficult to use the site in New York, WNYC reported.
New York’s multiple dwelling law, which serves to make short-term rentals in large buildings illegal, was tightened in 2011 to curb the spread of illegal hotels in the city. Instead, it’s led to users of Airbnb being slapped with violations by city authorities for hosting strangers in their homes for short periods. In one instance, a man who rented his East Village walk-up to tourists last year for three nights is being fined $30,000. [more]
Despite legislation passed by the city last year outlawing hotel uses in residential buildings, the hospitality website Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky told CBS News that his company is not trying to bend the rules; rather it is empowering homeowners and renters. See video after the jump)
Even after Albany outlawed hotel uses in residential buildings last year, the practice made popular with services like Airbnb remains rampant, according to the findings of a new City Council report. So in an attempt to further curb short-term stays — which lawmakers say are dangerous and restrict the rental housing market — the City Council is expected to pass a law today vastly increasing fines for violators.
The Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings, at a hearing this morning at 250 Broadway, approved the proposed law that would impose fines up to $25,000 for repeat violators. It will take effect 60 days after being signed into law. That’s much more severe than the state law passed in May 2010, which levies penalties between $800 and $2,400 per violation. [more]
It turns out the questionable legality of short-term rentals in New York City is only part of the problem for start-ups that capitalize on demand from those looking to save on vacations. According to Bloomberg News, finding insurance companies to cover the properties is nearly impossible.
For example, London-based Love Home Swap, whose founder describes the site as “online dating for homes,” has more than 5,500 people in 95 countries posting their homes online looking to swap them for a period. But she’s only been able to find an insurance company willing to cover residences in Europe. Two-thirds of her site’s users will need to arranger their own, or eschew it altogether. [more]
Stuyvesant Town’s new neighborhood watch doesn’t patrol the complex’s vast grounds at night watching for lurking trouble. Instead, it trolls Airbnb and other internet listing sites that facilitate illegal hotel-like rentals, looking for listings in their neighborhood. The New York Times said it’s another symbol of the growing divide between long-time residents of the middle-class apartment complex and the young, wealthy, transient community Stuy Town’s new management is working to attract. [more]
Top row, from left: Company founders Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk and Brian Chesky
Bottom row: A sampling of some of the deals listed on Airbnb last month and their nightly rates (from left): apartments on the Upper West Side, on the Lower East Side and in Harlem
From the November issue: In late June, a San Francisco woman blogged about a nightmare experience renting her apartment through the increasingly popular online listing service Airbnb. She had returned from a week of business travel to “an apartment that had been ransacked” and burglarized, right down to an allegedly photocopied Social Security card.
Horror stories followed from other locations, too, throwing the three-year-old Airbnb, then on its way to raising more than $112 million in fresh capital and securing a valuation of $1.2 billion, under a national microscope and prompting elected officials to flex their regulatory muscles. (The company counts actor Ashton Kutcher and a slew of venture capitalists as investors.)
New York State had, less than a year before, enacted legislation that banned renting out Class A residential spaces — apartments intended only as permanent, rather than transient, residences — for less than 30 days. … [more]