New law will ban short-term subletting

August 02, 2010 04:00PM

Assembly Member Richard Gottfried

A law intended to stamp out illegal hotels will also prohibit tenants from renting out their apartments while they’re on vacation, DNAinfo reported. The law — to take effect in May 2011 — bans apartment rentals for less than 30 days, making a subculture of short-term subletting that has been operating under the radar for years explicitly illegal. People like Zach Geller — who in the past has subleased his Upper East Side apartment for $100 a night while on a two-week vacation — are upset with the new restrictions. While losing the revenue wouldn’t be a huge blow for him, Geller said he finds fault with the government for telling him what to do. “New York’s full of tourists, so why should the government not let me do what I want?” he said. Joe Gebbia, the president of AirBnB.com, an EBay-like site for renting apartments, told Curbed that the company has received more than 300 letters from New Yorkers in protest of the legislation. Others have begun websites, like Protect-vacation-rentals.com, which argue that the bill infringes on the rights of homeowners, some of whom rely on the extra income to stave off foreclosure. But legislators behind the bill — sponsored by Assembly Member Richard Gottfried — say that, regardless of whether apartments are rented by tenants or landlords, opening the doors to strangers poses a risk. [DNAinfo]