City Council wants to spend more in fight against Airbnb

Speaker Corey Johnson hopes to add the money to the Office of Special Enforcement budget

TRD New York /
April 17, 2018 09:35 AM

Corey Johnson, Josh Meltzer and City Hall

The City Council wants to give a financial boost to one of New York’s major anti-Airbnb tools.

Speaker Corey Johnson has called for giving $2 million more to the Office of Special Enforcement in his response to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s budget proposal, according to Crain’s. The agency enforces state rules that ban transient occupancy, and the added funds would bring its budget to $6.8 million and allow it to increase its staff to 47.

State law generally requires that a permanent resident of a house or apartment stay on-site when paying guests are there for fewer than 30 days, and the state passed a 2015 law banning ads for arrangements that violate this rule.

New York City has recently cracked down on Airbnb, and City Hall attorneys just filed a lawsuit against the company on Monday after it refused to comply with a subpoena for records of short-term rentals at Manhattan’s 156 West 15th Street.

Josh Meltzer, head of New York policy for Airbnb, criticized the funding request to Crain’s.

“Big Hotel has already spent millions to stalk and harass responsible New Yorkers—and specifically women and communities of color—who are sharing their homes to make ends meet,” he said. “Now it appears they are pressuring the city to do the same.” [Crain’s]Eddie Small