NYC OK’d 10% of short-term rental apps under new laws

Only 405 approved in six months of registration portal

NYC Approved Just 10% of Short-Term Rentals Under New Law

A photo illustration of Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky (Getty)

As anticipated, legal short-term rentals on platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo are dwindling in New York City.

Since launching its registration portal in March, the city’s Office of Special Enforcement only approved 405 applications from prospective short-term rental hosts, Gothamist reported. The agency’s data drop on Wednesday also showed 214 rejections and 758 applications returned for revisions.

The vast majority of the 4,624 applications sent to OSE over the duration of the six months are still pending, as staffing shortages add to the challenges for those within city limits who rely on short-term rental income. Seventy percent of applicants are waiting in the wings for an answer from the city agency.

Last month, there were more than 10,000 short-term rentals operating in the city.

State and city law already prevented stays for under 30 days without the presence of the permanent tenant. The registration law added another layer of difficulty for hosts and short-term rental companies.

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Airbnb took on the fight against the recently enacted law, suing to have it overturned because of its potential to effectively eliminate short-term rentals, according to the lawsuit. A judge dismissed that lawsuit.

Applicants have been complaining for months about the glacial decision-making pace of OSE. In its fiscal year report, the agency said it took an average of 50 days to rule on applications, but the wait period took more than an additional month when the agency asked for revisions from applicants.

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Airbnb blamed the city for the registration laws, saying it tried to get ahead of the drastic shift in city policy by informing hosts of the process as early as March.

As the impact of Local Law 18 comes into focus, other platforms are working overtime to fill the growing void, including Sonder, Mint House and Kindred. Visitors to the city could also flock to hotels and even consider staying on the other side of the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey.

Holden Walter-Warner