Overcrowding in Airbnb’s short-term rentals is “recipe for tragedy”: report

Study from Senator Klein's office found 110 NYC listings for groups of 13 or more

TRD New York /
Sep.September 27, 2016 07:00 AM
Airbnb founders Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk and Brian Chesky

Airbnb founders Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk and Brian Chesky

A new report from State Senator Jeff Klein and the Independent Democratic Conference criticized Airbnb for short-term rentals in single-family homes that are advertised for “dangerously” large groups.

The investigation found that at least 110 hosts across New York City are offering temporary lodging for groups of 13 or more people. Klein said these types of listings violate the city’s Housing Maintenance Code and the state’s Multiple Dwelling Law, DNAinfo reported.

Most of the advertisements claimed to be able to host at least 16 people, and one said it could handle 32 guests. The majority of the ads were found in Brooklyn, followed by Queens and the Bronx. The report also found that 91 of the rentals were advertised as places for overnight stays, while the rest were promoted as venues for parties and movie sets.

“This truly is a case of Airbnb and the rentals of doom,” he said in a statement provided to the website.

The Independent Democratic Conference plans to introduce two pieces of legislation in response to the safety concerns. Those laws would make it illegal for one and two family homes to host short term rentals, and would fine Airbnb if it advertised illegal units.

“Putting 16 or more tourists in a unit designed for a couple of families is a recipe for tragedy,” the investigation reads.

A spokesperson for Airbnb said these types of hosts do not represent the majority of the Airbnb community. “We are eager to work with lawmakers, including the IDC, to find a sensible solution that will allow New Yorkers to responsibly share their primary home and crack down on commercial operators,” the spokesperson said.

Airbnb is currently facing a bill that would dramatically increase fines for those who list rooms in violation of state laws. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has yet to sign the bill, which was passed by the state Legislature. The company launched a $1 million ad campaign to try and convince Cuomo to veto the bill. It is also trying to organize its 46,000 users in New York to lobby against it. [DNAinfo]Miriam Hall

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