The Real Deal New York

Almost all Airbnb units are illegal: Attorney General

Nearly three quarters of listings violate zoning or other laws, report finds
October 16, 2014 08:20AM

UPDATED October 16, 10:30 a.m.: Almost three quarters of the city’s Airbnb rentals are in violation of zoning or other laws, according to a report that will be released today by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

According to the report, commercial operators — rather than residents trying to make ends meet — manage more than a third of the units and account for more than a third of the revenue, according to the New York Times. The report found that 6 percent of the hosts made 37 percent of the revenue.

Most of the rentals are located in three Manhattan neighborhoods — Lower East Side/Chinatown, Chelsea/Hell’s Kitchen and Greenwich Village/SoHo — while the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island account for only 3 percent, or $12 million. The report also found that a dozen buildings had more than half of their units used as rentals for at least half the year, according to the newspaper.

The report is based on 497,322 private stays in 35,354 unique places for less than 30 days that did not involve a shared room, according to the newspaper.

Airbnb did not outright dispute the report, which is based on four years of data that Airbnb handed over to the attorney general. A statement from Airbnb did say that “the report’s conclusions rely on incomplete and outdated information.” Airbnb said it already removed more than 2,000 listings in New York, stating that “every single home, apartment, co-op and living space in New York is subject to a myriad of rules, so it’s impossible to make this kind of blanket statement.”

We should not deny thousands of New Yorkers the chance to share their homes, pay their bills and stay in the city they love,” Airbnb said in the statement. [NYT] — Claire Moses


  • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

    Please GOD or Eric Schneiderman open up those airbnb records so we can get some justice – if there are … rent regulated … tenants “profiteering” enquiring minds want to know.

  • Sh!t My Tenants Say

    How do they continue to operate such an illegal business (or sponsor the marathon)? Just yesterday I found ANOHTER tenant of mine renting out his 1 bedroom as a “2 bedroom with private room available” until you read the description. How come AirBnB is not even willing to work with owners of rental buildings to block buildings?

    • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

      I know – there is no way to email them to ask them to keep our building off their list. So should they coordinate with DHCR and deny hosts in rent regulated buildings to prevent any craziness with regard to overcharges and succession rights like what happened in Cali?

  • Edward Johnson

    If de Blasio really wants to limit AirBnB’s success then why not pass a law that says if you’re caught illegally subletting your rent stabilized apartment then you get evicted? 30 days to move and you’re gone.
    Right now, all the tenant has to do is tell a judge they’ve stopped doing it and won’t do it again and the tenant gets to stay. We should be evicting these tenants.

    • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

      They are staying far away from the fact that tenants are the majority of airbnb host. I can’t get into the site now but after Hurricane Sandy, I pdf-ed a couple of pages of offerings – those were definitely tenant hosts.

      So now the news has the first lawsuit by the city going after landlord hosts so I take it they couldn’t find many landlord hosts otherwise, this would be a cause celebre. I guess the hotel industry will be satisfied but as for giving people the right to live in Manhattan.

      If you do a tally, most people are commuting because they live on their own dime and their housing is not subsidized. Could someone please define a housing shortage please?? Is it like HK, where they refuse public housing if it is a 40 minute commute or near the airport?

  • Tj

    Stop all of this AIRBNB CRAP is doesn’t belong here in NYC so Go Away!
    Just to many illegal issues. A tenant with a lease does NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO
    RENT THEIR APT! It’s in your damn lease!
    And if you own a coop you need Board approval to sublet the apt but many coops don’t allow it.

  • Puzzled

    I have many rent stabilized tenant who pay almost nothing in rent that are making a fortune renting out their units as a hotel and there is NOTHING I can do, can someone explain how this is a fair city?

  • Friendly New Yorker

    The A.G. should put this AirBnN out of business in NYC starting the day after he wins reelection by a landslide. Enough is enough. It’s like the Pirate Bay. It’s all illegal. And 3/4 of listings may violate zoning laws, 100% violate either (1) a co-op rules, (2) condo rules or (3) a rental buildings lease agreement with the tenant. 100%. So let’s start suing the tenants as well ! Come on people, I can’t throw a dime w/o hitting 10 lawyers so let the lawsuits commence.