New Jersey makes move toward regulating Airbnb

Assembly committee passes bill that would allow municipalities to ban short-term rentals
February 28, 2017 07:30AM

From left: Airbnb’s Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky and a map of New Jersey (Credit: Getty Images and Google Maps)

New Jersey took one step further Monday toward allowing the state’s municipalities to regulate Airbnb and other similar short-term rental apps.

The state Assembly’s Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee voted 7-0 in favor of a bill that would allow local governments to ban property owners from renting their primary residences out for a period of 30 days or less, the Observer reported.

The bill would also require hosts to be the legal owner or tenant of the space, and allow multi-unit buildings to rent out only one unit. Owners would have to secure liability insurance of at least $500,000, and hosts could only register units with no outstanding code violations. Finally, hosts could only register one unit.

Those who fail to register their units could face fines of up to $100 per day.

“The current practices of short-term rental businesses lack the necessary safety precautions for our municipalities,” the bill’s sponsor, Assembly member Valerie Vainieri Huttle, said. “We want residents and tourists to enjoy the options provided by companies like Airbnb, but not at the expense of neighbors who live there on a permanent basis. This legislation creates a baseline registry that municipalities can implement as they see fit.”

New York state has had laws on the books since 2010 that makes it illegal to rent an entire unit out for 30 days or less, and last year took the extra step of legislating fines for those who advertise illegal short-term rentals.

Earlier this month the city started handing out fines to landlords who allegedly violated the new law.

In April, Newark became the second city in New Jersey behind Jersey City to agree to tax Airbnb.

Airbnb, which is valued at $30 billion, has had a difficult time dealing with regulations around the globe. The company’s often painted itself as a tool for economic development in middle-class and disadvantaged neighborhoods, but a new study shows that most revenue earned in primarily black NYC neighborhoods goes to white hosts who are new to the area. [NYO] – Rich Bockmann