City Council bill aims to hike Airbnb fines way up

First-time offenders would be charged $10K

Jun.June 12, 2015 09:00 AM

A new bill introduced in the City Council is aiming to spook illegal Airbnb hosts with fines that are ten times the old ones.

Under the proposal, introduced Wednesday by Council members Helen Rosenthal and Ydanis Rodriguez, fines for first-time offenders determined to be operating illegal hotels would skyrocket from $1,000 to $10,000, with a maxiumum penalty of $50,000, according to CBS New York.

Rosenthal said that the current threat of a $1,000 fine is ineffective in deterring hosts from operating illegally.

“They treat it as the cost of doing business,” she said. “We’re going to move to a system where there’s no financial incentive to behave as an illegal hotel operator. And that’s the goal of increasing the fines.”

So far, the bill appears to have widespread support, including from Council member Jumaane Williams, chair of the Housing Committee.

The City Council has been struggling to provide a solution to the growing number of illegal Airbnb listings in the city. Airbnb has spent millions advocating that its services help average New Yorkers pay the bills. [CBS] — Tess Hofmann

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