Bulk of NYC Airbnbs to fall away after Labor Day

Sonder, Mint House, Kindred among those trying to fill void amid short-term rental rules

New York City Airbnbs to Drop in Fall 2023
From left: Sonder CEO Francis Davidson; Kindred co-founder Justine Palefsky; Mint House CEO Christian Lee (Getty, Sonder, Kindred, Mint House, LinkedIn)

The days are numbered for New York City’s population of Airbnb rentals.

The short-term rental landscape will change drastically after Labor Day, when the city begins enforcing a law that requires short-term rental hosts to register their properties. Airbnb sued to have the law gutted, claiming it was effectively a ban on short-term rentals; a judge dismissed the lawsuit and the registration of units has moved at a snail-like pace, suggesting many units will become illegal soon.

The state, meanwhile, already has a ban on renting out units in most apartment buildings for fewer than 30 days without the full-time owner being present.

Alternatives are slowly emerging to fill the gap Airbnb is destined to leave following the implementation of Local Law 18, Crain’s reported. Some of these alternatives, however, may face similar predicaments to the short-term rental giant.

San Francisco-based Sonder could provide one alternative. The company has units in the Financial District and elsewhere that aren’t covered by the short-term rental law. The company’s business model, however, is reliant on receiving business from other platforms, including Airbnb.

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Additionally, Sonder has had some issues of its own. In the spring, the startup was warned that it had until mid-October to improve its share price or face delisting from Nasdaq. The company, which manages and leases rentals itself (unlike Airbnb), has experienced multiple rounds of layoffs in recent months.

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Another place for tourists to turn is Mint House, which has apartment-style units at 70 Pine Street that are considered legal in New York City. Unfortunately for visitors, that’s the company’s only location in the city.

Kindred is a startup that charges residents to join a cohort of travelers and homesharers to host or swap homes without money changing hands directly. There are more than 1,000 residents registered in the New York metro area, co-founder Justine Palefsky told Crain’s.

Traditional hotels, of course, also stand to benefit from Airbnb’s tumult in the city. But even some luxury brands are willing to at least partially embrace a short-term rental model. The Ritz-Carlton in NoMad has 16 short-term rental units up for grabs for $9,000 a night.

Holden Walter-Warner