Real Estate Board of New York president Steven Spinola sounded off on Airbnb and rent regulation laws in a new op-ed piece, supporting a City Council proposal to increase the size of the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement.
The proposal, intended to help enforce growing concerns about quality of life threatened by short-term rental services like Airbnb, would increase the size of the office from 12 to 25 staffers. Spinola supports the measure in his Real Estate Weekly article, saying that it would increase revenues for the city in building code violation fines, and that it would help protect the safety of tenants.
“What happens when the keys to the front door are shared or a security code is given out? These keys or passcodes can be duplicated and given to others,” he said.
Spinola also referenced the recent case in which a Hell’s Kitchen rent-stabilized tenant was evicted for renting his apartment on Airbnb for $649 per night. In addition to violating the city law that disallows profiting on rent-stabilized apartments, Spinola points out that this renter was living in a million dollar-plus home in Queens. If he had been using the Hell’s Kitchen apartment as his primary residence, despite the fact that he owned a second home, he would legally be able to benefit from rent stabilization.
“Why should anyone who owns a home anywhere be subsidized by rent regulations for an apartment, whether it is his or her primary residence or not?” Spinola asks. “Rent regulation is not intended to help someone pay their mortgage for their Jersey Shore retreat.”