More than half of Airbnb units in NYC could be illegal: report

Data follow last year's report that found 75 percent of listings in violation of zoning or other laws

Airbnb founders Nathan Blecharczyk, Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky
Airbnb founders Nathan Blecharczyk, Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky

The majority of Airbnb’s listings in New York City could be illegal, according to new data scraped from the highly popular home sharing website.

More than 58 percent of listings in the city are for “entire” apartments or houses, according to the data, cited by Capital New York. The listings imply that nobody else would be living in the unit during the visitor’s stay. Of those full-home listings, about 10,000 are located on Manhattan.

Activist Murray Cox gathered the data for his project “Inside Airbnb.”

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It’s illegal to rent out most homes, one- and two-family residences excluded, for less than 30 days when the owner or tenant is not present under state law, according to the website. The website found only one full apartment listing for more than 30 days in New York. It’s unclear, however, how many of the the full-home listings in the city are exempt from the 30-day rule, Capital reported.

“We do not comment on public scrapes of our information, because, like here, these scrapes use inaccurate information to make misleading assumptions about our community,” an Airbnb spokesperson emailed to the website. “Thousands of regular New Yorkers are using Airbnb everyday to help make ends meet. That’s why it is so important that we fix local laws to allow people to share the home in which they live.”

Last year, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman released a report that showed that nearly 75 percent of the city’s Airbnb rentals violated zoning or other laws. That report showed also that commercial operators managed more than a third of the units and accounted for more than a third of the revenue. [Capital NY] — Claire Moses